The "13 Reasons Why" Controversy


It was a very important topic that was handled very poorly. I started off loving the show and failing to see at the beginning why it was problematic but after reading a bunch of articles and talking to some people, I come to see there are a lot of major issues with it that I don't like but I also think there is something good in it. It was really difficult to watch, I felt crappy every time I walked away from it and often I felt like I had to take a break in the middle of just watching one episode but I do think that there are some really valuable conversations to be had here and also there are some irresponsible things, there are some realistic things too and that's worth talking about and that is even more valuable than being entertained.

There was a ton of great stuff and I thought that could be a great way to incorporate mental health, getting help and talking to a professional but NO. I was so disappointed, instead of having someone there that was helpful and putting a good example of what it could be. I thought a lot of it was for entertainment and I didn't like that because real people and real life are hurting and we have to remember that this is just a show, so trying to keep that in mind as we balance what's entertainment and what's actual real helpful conversation. I don't want to spend my free time doing something that will make me feel worse and this definitely made me feel worse.

If anyone watching was a teenager in a moment of crisis and you see this girl getting revenge and it being justified it's a rewarding series for someone who is going through a hard time, that's the thing that really upset me. That if I was in a moment of crisis in my own life, how would this have had an effect on me. Being a kid is hard, it's hard for you to get adults to take your feelings seriously. A lot of time what happens is adults telling you "Uh, you're young", "It's okay", "You just don't have the experience yet, this is nothing you're gonna look back on it..". And sometimes yes that is the case but sitting here quite older, I definitely have times when I look back when I was younger and those moments are still painful, they are really real and to take those things away from people and dismiss people, I think is really horrible especially when you're young. That was one of the things that I think the show portrayed really well is that internal struggle and how you can feel really isolated and invisible and not taken seriously.

You're watching all these people listen to the tapes which are really hard to hear, that's the good part because depression doesn't look like a crying person in the corner all the time,  "I can be smiley in school because I don't want people to ask me about that, I don't know what to say" I like that but we're following Clay and all these other characters as they go through all of the different tapes and at that time there was no mention of mental health, the only person that said anything was Clay's mum saying "Maybe he should get on the medication again" and then "Maybe the talk therapy helped". But no one talked to Clay, that's what really pissed me off. I would really loved it to be an example of where it failed, I know the system is not perfect I know people feel lost, they don't have help but we can show that and help people feel like it's okay and it's normal to feel that way sometimes and to see it in a real way. Not glamorized. The other line could've been Clay going to talk to somebody and he is better able to deal with this grief, there are so many things they could've addressed.

There was really no way through the issues, they would present the issue and you see the struggle but there was no example of what it can be like when you work through things. That's the really valuable thing. It doesn't alway happen in real life but it happens so much in real life. I think when you're creating something that people are going to be watching I think it's really important to have that example of hope.

A lot of people were talking that it left them feeling even more hopeless than when it started. They had such an opportunity. It might not work out all the time perfectly but people need to know that there is hope and you're not alone.

The thing about teenagers is we can feel really hopeless and we have impulsive actions and then that could lead to death and making suicide revenge really frustrated me because she's not there and it could give people the idea that she gets to see all this played out but no, her life was ended.

Schools have a huge role, obviously nothing is perfect and we know that the mental health care system is sh*t show, it can be terrible. But the emailing their parents and telling to talk their kids part, the question is how many people as teenagers wanted to talk to their parents about something serious? Like never.

When people are suicidal I think they are not in their right mind (and I say that in the nicest way), we feel so hopeless, so isolated, so terrible that we can't see way out. We aren't able to make a rational choice. I didn't like the blame placing by Hannah in the show and I get the message in the show but I became so frustrated with the school counselor which was recording it and I was like "They are going to show mental help yess" but then I was like "this is such bs". You can't say I'm gonna reach out for help, recording it and then walking out like "He clearly didn't want to help".

It is important especially in an institution where adults should be protecting the children and looking out for them because even though when you're a teenager you feel like you got it handled and you're responsible for X, Y and Z, and you start feeling more like an adult, at the end of the day the adults around you are supposed to be there for you and supposed to be looking after you and these horrible things shouldn't happen to young people but yet they do, young people need support for these things, it broke my heart to see Hannah struggling with that.

You just wanna make sure that people feel like you're there for them, high school is tough and is easy to feel isolated and like you don't belong. The internet has helped equalized that for a lot of people. Even if you might feel like an outsider out of your school, there are safe spaces for you online where you can feel protected and like you have your people and that's what I love about the internet and also there are resources like the Trevor Project and crisis text line that can be amazing so if you're not using them and you need them they are really great because it's a free resource. There are trained professionals that know how to help, and also spreading the word and awareness about those is awesome.

To wrap it up, the biggest thing that I didn't like was the interaction with the school counselor and the fact that the kids didn't get any help, that was my biggest frustration because I understand the story with Hannah but the other line of children and kids struggling they could've shown a lot of resources. Also, she spent all of the time making those 13 f*cking tapes and didn't write a letter for her parents and her mother was hurting, at least let your parents know because that was the hardest thing about her parents, they wanted answers. The thing that I liked is that they showed depression as it is, you don't always know, it's not sad face crying in the corner it can be smiling too and I'm glad it wasn't the Hollywood depressed look.

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