Thirteen Reasons Why
My thoughts on the Netflix show thirteen reasons why
I had previously heard about this book and then it came to my attention that Netflix had made a series from it, so I decided to spend a couple days binge-watching the whole series. I find I connect more to those kind of books when I can visually watch it rather than reading it. As a mam and a counsellor I found It really upsetting to watch from both of my perspectives.
Once I had finished watching the series I found it really difficult to sleep that night, I started to feel overwhelmed, which got me thinking, if I was struggling as an adult who can process my thoughts and feelings, how might that affect others who are vulnerable and may be struggling with their own depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts? I found that a very scary thought, which made me decide to write this blog.
I am writing this blog from my own thoughts and opinions; you may disagree with them and that’s ok, but this is my take on having experienced working with clients who have suicidal thoughts and ideations. I have worked as a Samaritan for a number or years and also as a counsellor.
My initial thoughts of the whole series was there seemed to be portrayal of suicide as a solution and reaction to what was going on in Hannah life. Even to the point as romanticising the whole idea. I was also worried that the programme did not offer advice on how to help someone who was feeling suicidal. There are many great services available and sadly the show never brought this to the forefront. Which made me feel very disappointed.
I understand that others may be able to watch it just as entertainment. However, my concern was directed at those who may have experienced trauma such as abuse or violence and may have turned to substances to help them cope. I felt this series could be very triggering and is probably not in the best interest of those clients to watch the show. However, others, may find it an opportunity to really talk about their thoughts and feelings around subjects such as bullying, which are explored during the series.
When adding what others had to say I found that some mental health experts say the show could pose health risks for certain young people, such as those who have suicidal thoughts.
Others suggest the show provides a valuable opportunity to discuss suicide risks with young people, as well as teaching them how to identify warning signs of depression or suicidal thoughts among their peers. So either way it’s got us talking about the subject, which is never a bad thing in my opinion.
The most important part which I really wanted to address was that this story painted a picture that suicide is done for revenge. This may be the experience for some people but in my professional opinion I have never experienced or been aware that a client wanted to take their own life to punish another individual. Suicide more often comes from a place of deep hopelessness and sadness, feelings that things will never get better or change and also a fear of living.
So my final thought is let’s keep talking about the taboo subjects that have been hidden for so long and if you are struggling talk to someone, there are people who want to talk to you and help. Try talking to a family member or friend about how you’re feeling and if not seek professional help.
Helplines and support groups
It can be difficult to pick up the phone, but please reach out to somebody and let them know how you are feeling.
- Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at email@example.com.
- Childline (0800 1111) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won’t show up on your phone bill.
- PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.