13 Reasons Why: Review & Grasping the Social Stigma Attached to Mental Health

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As someone that has experienced mental health issues and raises awareness of mental health, I knew I had to watch Netlifx’s 2017 release 13 Reasons Why.

Since its release, the TV show has, understandably, received mixed reviews and complaints due to its graphic content. However, although some of the content may be triggering for some individuals, I believe that the creator, Brian Yorkey, and the directors of the show did an amazing job at bringing attention to the, unfortunately, commonly ignored problems of self-harm, suicide, and rape. Whatever issue is touched upon is done so with complete and utter honesty and the refusal of shying away from these problems highlights just how damaging they are to the individual and how important it is to talk about these things.

13 Reasons Why is a story about 16-year-old Hannah Baker who commits suicide; the 13 episodes – or tapes – explain the 13 reasons for her death and the show takes both the characters and the audience through a roller coaster of emotions. Although most of the TV show is spent hearing these reasons with main character Clay Jensen, we also experience the happenings through other character’s eyes such as Jessica Davies and Justin Foley. As a result of experiencing the issues through the victim’s eyes, we can really see how these occurrences affect them and how damaging they are to their mental health. Through the altering perspectives the audience can see and understand just how the victims are feeling; this can help audience members who don’t understand the severity of poor mental health and break the stigma surrounding it.

Suicide should never be an option, but unfortunately it’s the only one lots of people think they have. Whether it be down to bullying, family issues, or even self-hatred, there should always be somewhere or someone these suffering individuals can go to for the help they so desperately need. Unfortunately for Hannah Baker, these people did not give her the help she needed and her attempts were futile as it ended in her committing suicide. Although we can assume that some of the show’s characters have had the thought of suicide flit through their minds once or twice throughout the series, characters such as Jessica Davies seek that needed help so they can begin to recover from their misfortune. The show really grasps the stigma around mental health that leads these people to take their lives and shows that all these people need is support and help to get better. Mental illness isn’t contagious, you can’t catch it by being nice to people; just simply talking or listening to someone can start their journey to recovery. It takes nothing to be kind.

The show really grasps the social stigma attached to mental health that leads these people to take their lives and shows that all these people need is support and help to get better. Mental illness isn’t contagious, you can’t catch it by being nice to people; just simply talking or listening to someone can start their journey to recovery. It takes nothing to be kind.

See the Wicid Mental Health information page here 
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