While Hannah Baker leaves 13 tapes behind, each telling the story of how a classmate caused her to kill herself, I don’t think we were supposed to believe that these individuals truly killed Hannah. I think we were supposed to start to understand that Hannah needed help and support. We were supposed to see that Hannah was sick and was unable to find what she needed. I think we were supposed to be upset with how she was treated, with how little care and love other people shared with her.
I think we were supposed to see that we can’t always save people, but we can love them.
Whether you liked the show, or hated it, “13 Reasons Why” clearly brought much needed attention to suicide and mental health.
“13 Reasons Why” led many people to believe that Hannah was blaming 13 people for her death. But the show goes so far beyond this. The point of Hannah’s story was that Hannah was looking for something good to hold on to. She was in a place where she was so unhappy that she was just looking for anything at all to cling on to. And when people kept letting her down, her world became more and more isolated. She was lonely and miserable. Her heart broke a little more each time someone rejected or hurt her. These people were not to blame for her death. They were just people who were part of her story, people who never tried to care for her.
Many people argue that all of the awful things that Hannah went through “should” not have led to Hannah ending her life. But for Hannah, who was already struggling with mental illness and feeling so down, these experiences tore her completely. Hannah was lonely and let down. She was numb and heartbroken. She faced rape, sexual assault, bullying, and slut-shaming. While these experiences may not have caused her to commit suicide, they certainly didn’t help her.
“13 Reasons Why” painfully paints the true suffering and isolation that are the face of mental illness. “13 Reasons Why” finally sheds light on mental illness. It shows people how hard invisible illness can be. Many shows avoid mental illness. But “13 Reasons Why” leaves you feeling numb and unsettled. It shows you how lonely mental illness can truly be.
“13 Reasons Why” shows how quiet someone’s suffering can be. Hannah’s parents didn’t realize that Hannah was sick. Clay didn’t know that Hannah was suicidal. No one knew. We can all learn from this show. We can all learn to ask each other questions and to tell each other what we need. I Hope that “13 Reasons Why” encourages people to ask questions and to look for the signs that someone may be struggling.
“13 Reasons Why” brings suicide to life, graphically and emotionally. It touches peoples’ hearts. It shows how painful and how finite suicide is.
Some people argue that Hannah should have been “smart” enough to ignore what people said to and about her. She was smart enough to stay away from toxic friends, and smart enough to learn that what they said didn’t matter. But intelligence doesn’t matter. The comments hurt Hannah. She was emotionally exhausted. Sometimes emotions speak so much louder than logic.
“13 Reasons Why” sheds light on the importance of “togetherness.” It shows us that we all need each other. We need each other to rely on, and we need each other to have faith in. We need to build people up rather than tear them down. We need to help people rather than hurt them. As the tapes were passed from friend to friend, more secrets and lies grew. More anger and aggression grew. Friendships and relationships were torn apart. And this just demonstrates how we need to be there for each other. This is the most important thing we can do.
“13 Reasons Why” portrays how terribly lonely and hard high school can be. Hannah was not the only one suffering. I hope that this show lets people know that struggling in high school is real. High school isn’t always picture perfect.
“13 Reasons Why” has the power to start an extremely important conversation between kids and their parents. It opens up conversation about all of the topics that are too easily ignored because they are hard to talk about. “13 Reasons Why” can help parents talk to their kids about topics such as trauma, sexual assault, consent, mental health, suicide, and relationships in general.
Nobody killed Hannah. Hannah killed herself. And I think this is important to remember. But I also think “13 Reasons Why” does show how detrimental bullying, slut-shaming, and general hate can be. While no one killed Hannah, no one tried to save her either. We can’t save people from suicide, but we can try to make their lives better. We have the power to help other people. We should never let this power go to waste.
“13 Reasons Why” exemplifies how truly permanent suicide is. Though to her classmates Hannah temporarily lives on in the tapes she leaves, the tapes eventually come to an end. There is nothing romantic about this. Hannah’s parents are left without Hannah. Hannah’s life has been ended before she has fully blossomed. Though some may say “13 Reasons Why” romanticizes suicide, for anyone who watches the show all the way through, the ending, including Hannah’s death and all of the character’s sad situations, leaves the viewer feeling empty and alone.
“13 Reasons Why” is not just about Hannah. It’s about all of the people who loved her, knew her, were affected by her. The show powerfully and tragically shows us how suicide impacts more than one person, and how awful suicide really is. Hannah’s classmates are all distraught and upset after Hannah’s death. They are all torn up and falling apart in their own ways. Hannah’s parents are left feeling empty and alone. Hannah’s life was meaningful and important, and should not have ended so soon.
Above all, I hope that “13 Reasons Why” encourages people to reach out for help. I hope it shows that none of us are alone, and that none of us ever have to be alone.