Mental Health Series: 13 Reasons Why

This will be the first of, hopefully, a series of insightful discussion posts.

For those of you that have seen or read Thirteen Reasons Why, Stratosphere I and II might sound a little familiar. That’s because it is. There were so many parallels of what happened in Hannah and Clay’s life that remind me of what I’ve experienced with my husband. Though Hannah’s situation was different, her thoughts were, and in many ways, still are, very similar to mine.

Since May is Mental Awareness Month, I’m going to be sharing a series of posts about the show, specifically. The faults, the things they did right, those little details that most people probably missed. But the most important part: it’s getting people talking.

I’m going to start each post with a trigger warning, because, let’s face it, this entire show can be triggering to people, and even more so as it progresses. I’ll also include a link to a landing page for people who may need to find some help if they feel like they need it for whatever reason.

My purpose here is not to take sides over the controversy. It’s not to trigger people or otherwise cause harm. I’ve learned a lot over my years, after the abuse I faced as a child, and now as an adult, trying to work through that complex PTSD.

I’m offering  insight from my perspective, and letting people know how important this story is, but also making one point very clear: this is not something I can recommend to everyone.

One way or another, most people will relate to something that happens in this story, and not everyone is in the right place to deal with the onslaught of emotions that could come from it.

But, suicide is a very real and very dangerous problem. It’s important that people notice the signs that were missed time and time again over the course of this show and understand that as human beings, we are all flawed.

Maybe, just maybe, if we are more aware of others, we will see these signs and take a moment to help someone who needs it.

Β© Sarah Doughty

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46 thoughts on “Mental Health Series: 13 Reasons Why

  1. I’m really curious to read your posts regarding this show and the powerful topics it covers. I was intrigued about the show when I first heard about it, but I have yet to watch it, because I’d like to read the book first. But regardless, I’m looking forward to reading your thoughts on this!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have not seen the programme Sarah but, through my time in the police, dealt with the issues you talk about on a number of levels. Thank you for opening up the discussion in this way.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Look forward to the conversation. I have a piece on Storgy.com later this month on the topic. It is fiction that asks more than it tells, that’s for sure. Not knowing — or rejecting — the warning signs and not understanding how to help are themes that came out in my story.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We just binge-watched the entire season this weekend, as the story was so compelling. I do have a few quibbles, so I’m curious to see if you might address those points. (The final episode did not fully give me the resolution I was seeking, for instance.) But overall, I respect the series for making us question just how well we are looking out for one another…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I think they left a few things open for a hopeful second season, which subsequently was announced today. I’m hoping I noticed some things that are worth mentioning that may help us look out for one another.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t know if you saw this, but Virtual Vomit posted a “Thirteen Reasons Why Challenge” about 3-1/2 weeks ago:

    “Instead of the 13 reasons why Hannah Baker killed herself, (we have to move on from that) and ask ourselves, what are 13 reasons why you’re happy with your life. It could be anything, little ones, big ones, weird ones, super important ones. Make a list, 13 reasons, and then get your fellow blogger friends to do it as well.”

    I have neither read the book nor watched the series (I don’t have Netflix right now), but I liked that idea enough to give it a shot. I have been experiencing a depressive episode for a few weeks now (in fact, I just started therapy again this last week), so I modified my list slightly, to “13 Things I Have to Be Happy About”.

    https://ordinaryaveragethoughts.wordpress.com/2017/04/22/13-reasons-why-challenge/

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is a good idea to help combat the emotions that come from this, or any other heavy situation. It’s not so much that we have to move on from Hannah and her reasons, but that we need to continue talking about it so that people can change the way they treat others and hopefully recognize that someone may need help. Also, by being aware of the ramifications of a suicide, maybe someone will think twice before doing it. If we’re lucky, talking will save lives.

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  6. I watched the show with my 14 year old daughter. I found the story very real, but we were able to talk and discuss what we would do in those situations. I’m looking forward to more of your posts on this subject.
    Llissa

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much. I’m happy to hear that you and your daughter felt comfortable enough to watch the show. I know it’s not easy for any audience, especially someone her age, but it is good to start talking to our children before they encounter these kinds of problems.

      Liked by 2 people

      • She starts high school in September and I’m scared about her going to a larger school and with all the peer pressure these days, I felt it was more important to watch it with her than to ignore the issues.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I agree with you, and I’m glad you did. When I was in high school, I never went to parties, but I heard about them, and I saw the way girls were treated. It’s good to know going in what to be aware of and what to avoid, if possible.

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  7. I’m really looking forward to your thoughts on 13 Reasons Why – it’s caused a lot of commotion in the MH community, and for good reason. Personally, I thought it was very well done – however I can understand the points raised from both for and against.

    I do think that the most important part is that it’s going some way to stop suicide being such a taboo discussion topic, and helping us all to open up and realise that it could affect literally anyone, for any number of reasons.

    Liked by 1 person

    • YES, EXACTLY. I really loved it, and I can see merit in both sides of the argument. Ultimately, it has succeeded in getting people talking. I’m wanting to do an analysis of what I thought they did right, and why there’s so much controversy over certain parts of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. this. this is why you are blessed with massive followers. because you care and you are open not to be famous but to touch those people who has been through or going through what you’ve been through. i admire your braveness, love, but your kindness and empathy are in beyond levels. May this series help those who are in need. Keep shining, love. You are one bright star. ❀

    Liked by 1 person

  9. You’re very brave sharing this. The criticisms I’ve read have been pretty damning of the production. I’m not at all sure I shall be watching it – too difficult. Now that I’m out of that dark place, I want to stay in the light…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I completely understand. These discussions will obviously be spoilers for the story, but not quite in the way many would think. I’m going to try to keep things more analytical (person A did B, C, D, etc, which no one noticed was a warning sign in X, Y, and Z scenes), rather than emotional. But if you choose to read and feel like it is too much, please, don’t hesitate to stop. I don’t want anyone to be triggered over this series.

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  10. I can’t wait to see what aspects of the show you end up discussing! There’s so much going on and I thought the storytelling was great overall. It’s definitely a hard show to watch – particularly if you’ve been through anything similar to Hannah’s situation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree. I’m going to try to analyze it without emotion. Just pointing out the things I noticed that maybe others didn’t. I really love it when so much care is taken to cover each detail with purpose. Many of which I’m sure most people didn’t even notice, but once pointed out, it’s not something they’ll miss again.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I agree with Aka, Sarah. The glimpses into your past and your pain are heartbreaking. And it’s wonderful that you’re willing to share parts of your story. These are conversations that people need to hear and be part of, and it shouldn’t be hidden in some dark corner. And I think that the issue needs to be more personal, tangible, so people aren’t so far removed from the topic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the kind words. It’s not easy to share my story, and I know how triggering it could be for people to even read about it, but silence is the biggest problem. So, I think bringing these things to light, and sharing bits of my life might help people to understand that this is more than just entertainment. It’s something all of us can relate to on some level.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s sad that no one noticed. Honestly, I think people these days are so caught up in their own lies to notice the important signs around them. It’s like they don’t notice until it’s too late.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, exactly. And the unfortunate part, is that it happened more than once in this show. People failed to notice that Alex was deteriorating with guilt. No one noticed how Tyler was slowly shifting into revenge mode as a way of coping with his reality. Clay’s parents noticed something was up with him, but they didn’t do much other than suggest he take his meds and talk to them. Ultimately, Clay finds his redemption, but the others? It’s sad.

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