One of my friends referred me to watch the English show 13 Reasons Why. I have watched two seasons already and am super excited for the third and fourth. Before moving on to the next session, I want share a few things that I learned from this high school teenager drama series.
The series aims to touch on the issues of mental health among high school students. It is based on the bestselling book by Jay Asher’s with the same name. I would like to share some lessons I learned from two of its seasons.
Although the series is based on a fictional book, we may relate to some character and incidents. The series taught us that however close two friends might be, there are certain things that we are not mindful of; we are not aware of everyone’s story, and we might ignore the hidden pain behind their smile. I have some friends who seem very happy, but when I talked to them, I realised that they are covering their harsh reality with a smile on their face. For example, Jessica hid many dark truths about her life with a happy face.
We must always think before speaking. Sometimes, our words may hurt others’ feelings. Whatever mistake one makes, we should not use a language that may hurt anyone. Hannah Baker tells her story but forgets that her words might hurt others badly. Although she was right at her place, she should have thought about her words.
Clay Jenson used to like Hannah Baker, but could not express his love in words. Possibly, his words could have saved Hannah. If you love someone, express before it’s too late, you never know how your words may help someone.
Sometimes, words speak or mean more than what we think or realise; it may destroy or build one’s world. These words or stories may demotivate someone badly and lead to dire consequences in their life. In the present context, we are seeing a kind of hatredness being built among Hindu Nationalists against minority communities. Many rumoured news or videos played a crucial role in spreading hatred among them. We need to think twice before spreading rumours. For us, it might be a joke, but other people might take it wrongly.
We should never hide our problems. Before this problem leads to a mental consequence, we must speak about it. Sometimes, we think it’s nothing but a worry, but this may lead to stress, anxiety, depression and so on. From Hannah to Clay to Jessica, everyone hid something and later suffered. It is always better to speak about your problems with your loved ones.
If a friend seeks our help directly or indirectly, we should never ignore it. If a friend or acquaintance cries before us, never ever ignore such a cry. For example, Counsellor Kevin Porter ignored the cry of Hannah Baker, thus failing to prevent her death. Hannah gave him many alarms, but he could not understand her feelings. He wanted words from her and Hannah could not speak in words.
According to the WHO, one out of every four people suffers from some kind of mental health illness. This series is all about mental health issues, and even in the disclaimer, it alerts us to not watch the series if they are going through any prolonged mental health illness. The series tells us that anyone can be affected by a mental disorder, at any moment in their life. Every character is suffering from one or the other kind of mental disorder. It is essential to talk it out with friends, family or a professional.
It is very important to find precious people in your life, with whom you can share everything. Hannah Baker had so many friends, but she could not find a confidant. At one point, she started sidelining everyone and thought that no one is good to her. In our bad times, we start doubting everyone. Had Hannah realised that Clay Jenson is a kind-hearted friend, she might have survived.
Suicide not only end a person’s life, but it also affects lives of many more. Suicide can never be the answer to your questions. You may have reasons to die, but one must try looking for reasons to survive as well. If someone commits suicide, it does not answer their questions, but leads to many others. Hannah gave 13 reasons for her suicide, but she also might have been able to find 26 reasons to survive. After she killed herself, the whole school as well has her close friends got affected.
There are always resources, reasons and people who may be able to help battle suicidal thoughts. I would highly recommend you to watch this series and am quite sure that it would make some positive changes in your life.