I watched most of “13 Reasons Why” this weekend and found it incredibly depressing. LOL. Because there’s not much to LOL about. The kids are typical yet morose. The adults are typical yet clueless. I get it. We are missing all the warning signs.
All these things can happen to teens: assault, sexuality, embarrassment, humiliation via social media, rape, depression, drugs and suicide. The problem with the show is that there’s no joy in it. You need a couple of friends or hobbies or adults who simply love you or whom you love. Why didn’t Hannah have a therapist? Why didn’t Clay write for the school newspaper? Why didn’t any of them work? Something positive was missing from all of their lives. There’s got to be something more than that.
- In the New Yorker there’s a quote from one of the script writers saying that suicide ain’t painless: “It overwhelmingly seems to me that the most irresponsible thing we could’ve done would have been not to show the death at all. In AA, they call it playing the tape: encouraging alcoholics to really think through in detail the exact sequence of events that will occur after relapse. It’s the same thing with suicide. To play the tape through is to see the ultimate reality that suicide is not a relief at all—it’s a screaming, agonizing, horror.”
I noticed there are signs around my town lately saying hate isn’t welcome here. That’s nice. But of course we need more. In that “13 Reasons” raises awareness, kudos. I don’t think it will trigger a rash of suicides (although copycat suicides is a real thing). In that it’s terribly sad, well, they tried. Still its hard to fathom why the guidance counselor wasn’t better trained. We need more money in schools for counseling and psychology. Trump should put his money where his mouth is and give a billion in school subsidies for social and emotional learning.
- On the other hand, Vanity Fair said, “Rather than starting a valuable conversation that could help students who are struggling with mental-health issues, the show, these schools fear, might push students with issues over the edge.”
Either way, this show highlights an illness of a sick society. If we want our teens to be happy we need to give them things to do other than snap nudes of each other and post them to Instagram. Kate Walsh was cute as the bereaved mother but it was over the top. Where was her worry while all of this was going on? Was she too busy at the husband’s pharmacy to give a damn? Were they too burnt out trying to make ends meet against the competition of giant pharma, as the show hints? I’m not trying to blame anyone. I’m trying to understand what is so compelling about a bunch of moody teenagers? Give them a school play or a soccer game. Give them a party that doesn’t involve boys learning to black out on booze. Teach them from an early age to respect women.
On this Mother’s Day we need to stand strong against all forms of disrespectful behavior, starting, you guessed it, right here at home…
If you’re suicidal, we recommend contacting the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free at 800-273-8255. You can also try one of these free crisis chat services:
Crisis Text Line (on your smartphone)