How ’13 Reasons Why’ has helped me. 

’13 Reasons Why’, the new and successful Netflix original series that has everyone talking! 

But why?  What makes this show so special?  What makes it different?  Why is it THE MOST tweeted about show this year?  Why is it such an important show, especially for teens and young people, across the globe? 

If you don’t already know (which is probably almost impossible), ’13 Reasons Why’ is a new Netflix original show, based on the book written by Jay Asher.  Executively produced by Selena Gomez and her mum, featuring an amazing cast who play their characters with such passion that it is difficult to make it through all 13 episodes without crying or taking a break.  It took me four days to make it to the end. 

Like a lot of teens and young people, Hannah Baker deals with bullies everyday.   While Hannah faces some very serious forms of bullying, including being sexually assaulted and raped, ’13 Reasons Why’ shows us how a build up of different events and a lack of support, can affect a person so dramatically that they feel they have to take their own life.  

This show hit me hard, I could relate to Hannah and many of the things that she had experienced and it made me think about my own past experiences, as it has with many other people all over the world.  Just one of the reasons why it is such a popular topic on Twitter!  It made me think about the times that I was bullied, or felt victimised and scared.  While it helped me to understand what might make a person want to take their own life, it also helped me to see how strong I am, how strong we all are as people.

This show has drawn attention to the issues that many young people face today, such as depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and self-harm.  Selena and the cast even took to social media to show themselves getting matching semi-colon tattoos, in support of Project Semi-Colon (a nonprofit dedicated to helping those with depression, anxiety. addiction, self-harm and suicidal thoughts).  

I have never been good at talking about how I feel.  Ask anyone, my best friends, my mum, my ex, they’ll all tell you.  I bottle things up inside and pretend everything’s okay, until one day I pop!  Until things become overwhelming and cause disruption in my life, like watching my grades deteriorate, or losing people I care about.  ’13 Reasons Why’ has helped something click inside my head.  I tell everyone that it’s okay to feel down, or being depressed and having anxiety is nothing to be ashamed of.  Yet when it came to my own mental health I was afraid. 

I have anxiety, depression and very low self-esteem. This show has helped me realise that I shouldn’t be afraid to accept help, or to go out and ask for help.  It’s helped me with understanding my own feelings.  I always try to help and make everyone around me better, but never worry about myself.  I’m currently on anti-depressants and walk several miles everyday to improve my own mental health.  ’13 Reasons Why’ has given me the courage to speak openly about my issues and not keep them buried or hidden, not to be ashamed. 

This show has only been out for a few weeks and while many professionals and individuals have talked about how the show is triggering and ‘glamorises suicide (something that I disagree with), it has also helped millions of people around the world.  It’s opened up new conversations about young peoples’ mental health and drawn attention to organisations like Project Semi-Colon.  It’s raising awareness and has more and more people talking about depression, self-harm and suicide on social media and in the news.  

While there is no official word yet as to whether or not there will be a season 2, I hope Netflix really sees the impact that this show is having on young people everywhere and go on to make another season. 

I have never been so personally affected by a fictional character or a show, but ’13 Reasons Why’ is a powerful series that has had a bigger impact on people in it’s first few days than I could have ever imagined! 

A x

** If you are dealing with your own mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, addiction, self-harm or suicidal thoughts (or if you have been affected by sexual assault), below are some links that may be useful to you.  If anyone would like to talk to someone who has similar experiences, that isn’t a professional or close friend/family member, my email and social media accounts are all listed in the ‘Contact Me’ page ** 

https://projectsemicolon.com/

http://www.samaritans.org/

https://youngminds.org.uk/

https://mind.org.uk

https://teenmentalhealth.org

https://time-to-change.org.uk

https://thesurvivorstrust.org

https://www.victimsupport.org.uk/crime-info/types-crime/rape-sexual-assault-and-sexual-harassment

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Sexualhealth/Pages/Sexualassault.aspx

http://csass.org.uk/

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