I finally finished watching 13 Reasons. I dont think you can make comments unless you watch the series. As difficult as some of the content was it was important for me to watch to be able to join in the conversations surrounding this series.
The attached article has snippets of quotes from me but I will try to succinct them together here. I felt the show was both positive and negative.
The main positive message from the series is that it gets the topic out in the open to speak about suicide and the multiple factors involved. This could be an important tool to talk to youth. They have already seen these types of images on the internet. If not at your home at a friends home. Having adults involved in the conversations is key to sorting through some of these issues. Its always a good idea to talk about struggles and feelings. When we do not talk about thoughts of suicide or our struggles we feel Increased sense isolation and loneliness.
Another important thread throughout the series that is important for our youth to understand is how actions impact another person’s sense of being. The people who hurt Hannah along the way by their actions – some small actions and some horrific actions. Youth are vulnerable to these actions because they have not developed who they are yet. Often they internalize what others are saying about them. This was true for Hannah. Yet, some of these very experiences are a part of navigating life and learning. We have all felt betrayal pain and disappointment and it shapes us in many ways. Its how we grow and learn as people. Many of those lessons happen in our grade school years.
Often shows depict the awkward kid who has no friends as the person who is picked on and struggling. I liked that this series showed Hannah as attractive, smart and creative but still she struggled. It helps to take away the “stigma” of “who” struggles most.
I did not like the feelings I kept coming back to that Hannah was seeking Revenge. It felt like the tapes were made to feel a sense of payback. I don’t feel that the 13 people identified were the reasons for her suicide. But one stands out for sure and that was “BRYCE” . Many of the people identified were kids also sorting out their own life and struggles and did not intend to harm anyone.
I would have liked to have seen a character in the series that explained the teenage brain and how it works. How our brain works when in despair and cycling through our thought patterns. When someone thinks of leaving this world it begins a brain wave pattern. Sort of like a road well traveled. We tend to go back to the same road of thinking when we are struggling. I believe suicidal thoughts start in this way. Feeling desperate, lonely, depressed etc then another negative experience happens and we pile it on the emotions. Thoughts go back once again to feeling suicidal.
The dialogue given by Hannah via the tapes was meant to give us a broader perspective of the issues she faced however, it was not really accurate because the level of analysis given was beyond the majority of most teens. Looking back on youth I can give a strong voice and understanding of most of my own struggles but as a teen I did not have the words to articulate these emotions.
Overall it gives us insight into the world of teens today and allows for important conversations. Hoping the next Season gives some alternatives for sorting through so much pain.