After the Netflix show 13 Reasons Why came out a few years back, there has been concern that teenagers would watch the show and feel as though suicide is a realistic option to solve their problems. However, since the opening of this show, teenagers have felt as though suicide is more acceptable and glorified than it is.
Because of this, teenage suicide has dramatically increased. However, even though the main character of this show is a female, male teenage suicides are the ones to have increased. Female teen suicides have remained constant even with the female influence on the show.
For those of you out there who don’t know what this show is about, in summary, “Thirteen Reasons Why, based on the best-selling books by Jay Asher, follows teenager Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette) as he returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers a group of cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford) – his classmate and crush – who tragically committed suicide two weeks earlier. On tape, Hannah unfolds an emotional audio diary, detailing the thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, Thirteen Reasons Why weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect viewers.”
I had a bad feeling teenagers would watch this show and, despite all warnings and requests to watch the show with care, would still determine that suicide is as glorified as Hannah Baker made it seem. However, why male teenagers are the ones to follow in Hannah's example is beyond me. If anything, I would have expected female teenagers to want to be Hannah.
The only reason I can think male teenagers would watch 13 Reasons Why and feel like this was a great way to go is that they watch Clay Jensen and how he had to deal with Hannah’s death and want their loved one, crush or family to wish them alive again.
Whatever reason they had, I think it is important that everyone takes action in helping these teenagers shake off the fact that leaving their families, friends, classmates, teammates and everyone else who loves them is not any way to solve problems.
Teachers, I feel it is important to look for cues in your students. It is important now more than ever to keep your students safe by reporting any signs of depression, anxiety or other mental disorders. And parents, it is important to keep your children informed of what their actions can do to others and how to make themselves feel better despite what negative impact society has made on them.
Also, it can be important to do things with your children. Such as a Saturday by which they might spend in bed due to sleep deprivation or depression, take them for a walk or to a movie or something else they might enjoy doing.
Students, suicide is not the way to solve anything. It might seem like a good idea to just let everything go and leave earth by your own decision, but there is so much you will miss if you do.
If you are someone who feels depressed or suicidal, please call the suicide hotline (1-800-273-8255) or these websites with numerous resources on it including a link to the crisis text line, the number for the crisis text line and a number and link to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.