13 Reasons Why

The Netflix series ’13 Reasons Why’ caused controversy for apparently encouraging and glamourising suicide. I’ve worked with clients who have felt suicidal as well as those who have had family members suicide and I would never think to describe suicide as glamorous in any way. 13 Reasons WhyClients have only ever felt that after enduring a burden of such emotional hardship, expectation and responsibility that it’s the very last option they have. Feeling so ineffectual, miserable, emotionally exhausted, lost and alone, they just want to give up the tiring effort of each minute and just make the suffering stop. It made me curious to watch the series and judge for myself, how it might glamourise suicide particularly given that the intention behind its production was to bring hard topics out into the open for discussion in order to provide support.

’13 Reasons Why’ was far from the best series I’ve watched – and Mr Porter’s lack of support of Hannah made me cringe, but I admire the effort taken to try and bring a lot of different and important topics up for people to openly discuss. I didn’t feel the series glamourised suicide though I can understand how it might worry people in the way it could be seen and interpreted by a younger, struggling mind. The best part of the series (much more succinct and direct) was the discussion clip produced to explain the reasons for making ’13 Reasons Why’ called ‘Beyond the Reasons’:

For those who might be considering suicide, I feel the experiences of grief and bereavement were well depicted in ’13 Reasons Why’ by Clay and Hannah’s parents through their feelings of loss, anger and their search for understanding: trying to find signs and picking over moments of the past trying to look for moments where they might have been able to have changed the outcome. Their wish that Hannah would have just let them know how she was feeling so they could have been given the chance and opportunity to do something/anything to help or just be there for her is familiar in those I’ve worked with who have had someone suicide. It leaves everyone distressed and devastated.

For anyone who might be considering suicide, please risk the possible shame, embarrassment, rejection, ridicule, burdening, resentment, judgement, disappointing and tell people who care about you how you’re feeling. Maybe those people will find it difficult to hear but I have no doubt that those people will want to be there for you. Perhaps there are no easy fixes but just having someone there who you can talk to, who shows how much you mean to them can make a big difference. If the first person you speak to doesn’t work out, then try a second. If the second doesn’t work out, try a third. Don’t give up on others and don’t give up on yourself.

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