I’m not going to take back my opinions of how good the show is, because it is, but I do have one issue that I can’t get past from.
Last week I was working on on a post about books and shows that portray characters dealing with mental issues. Initially, I had 13 Reasons Why on the list, but then it dawned on me that it also didn’t belong on that list (sort of like Clay). The other books on the list talked about mental health and how debilitating and problematic it can be to live with them, but they all had one thing in common. Their protagonists received the help they needed. None of them died. For those reasons, I found myself removing 13RW from that list.
On a post that’s about dealing with mental illness, I didn’t want to include a story whose character dies in the end. I wanted it to be more positive, to let people know that there can be an issue, and more importantly a solution to it too.
I know that in the real world it doesn’t always end on a happy note, and 13RW reflects that, but shouldn’t we also be able show how people can overcome it? In the show, Hannah doesn’t get help. She only talks to one person who fails to see the problem, and then she gives up. She could have talked to her parents or friends, but chooses to give up easily. That’s not the right message to show people already struggling with similar thoughts.
What’s even more mind boggling is that the show never addresses the possibility that Hannah might have been suffering from some type of mental illness. In my opinion, this a failure on part of the show because most suicide victims also suffer from mental illness.
Everyone is talking about how great the show is and how it’s raising awareness on serious topics, but without someone saying there is another way to cope with these hardships, it’s hard to get past this glorification of suicide. I’m afraid people aren’t going to see the message the creators of the series originally intended to show its audience.
Moving forward, I hope 13RW remedies this problem by having other characters get the help they need, like Jessica. Because more than anything, people need to hear the words, “It will get better.”
As someone who has experienced issues with mental illness, showing how other people get through it, can motivate others do the same.