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13 Reasons Was Pretty Accurate, Whether You Liked It Or Not.

Let's set the record straight about the controversy surrounding Netflix's latest hottest hit, 13 Reasons Why.

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In case you've been living under a rock, Netflix released an original series, "13 Reasons Why"; the series adaptation of Jay Asher's best-selling YA novel. The series follows a group of teens as they navigate through high school after the death of their peer, Hannah Baker.

*SPOILERS AHEAD*

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As you watch the experiences and roller-coaster of emotions happen to Hannah during the episodes, you learn more about her reasons that ultimately lead to her committing suicide. From graphic rape scenes to sexual harassment, to bullying, to being/feeling neglected from friends and family; Hannah's final decision was a result of not just mental health, but many other aspects building onto each other.

Reasons I've Heard People Are Mad At This Show

1.) "Hannah's suicide was an act of petty revenge against those who wronged her."

I've heard many people in the following months say that Hannah's actions were a type of sick revenge on those who had wronged her, and I don't buy that. If it was all about revenge, Hannah would not have chosen such a final solution. Revenge involves, or at the very least implies, being around to watch the person suffer after you inflict pain; which Hannah did not do. This was not just about making somebody feel bad for their actions; it was about making these teenagers (soon to be college kids, and then onwards to adults) realize that their actions have major consequences. It is necessary to let people know when they are doing something wrong, whether to their face or through a cassette tape. Calling people out on their actions lead to an environment of awareness. If this was revenge, Hannah could have figured out a way to ruin their lives, stick around to watch them fall, and continued on with her own life. She was a very smart girl, and people don't entertain the idea that she could have inflicted revenge if she wanted. But this was much more than petty revenge.

2.) "The show does not accurate depict mental health issues or suicide among teens."

Just because the show did not work to represent your experiences with suicide or mental health issues, does not mean that this show is not painfully accurate. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, nearly 45,000 Americans commit suicide each year. This involves all different types of ages, ethnicities, and working status'. This is one instance among thousands. To say this is not accurate, is ignorant. There is not a standard scenario for how these situations go, nor is there a right or wrong when it comes to handling it. You don't have to understand somebody's reasons for committing suicide, you just have to respect it, after the fact. This is not to say that you need to agree and accept it, because that is simply too much to ask somebody to do when it involves a loved one. What people need to stop doing is stop labeling a victim's reasons as "weak", or "minor", and begin seeing through their point-of-view. Hannah, at times, seemed like she had no logical reason to feel the way she did. Many times, she did not speak up when she should have, and this resulted in her feeling bad about herself later on. Instead of shaming her because she did not speak up, jump into her shoes and understand where they are coming from. A teenager going through high school over-exaggerates and over-thinks nearly everything; how can we expect Hannah to be any different?

3.) Mental health was not accurately depicted.

First off, mental health was not the main perpetrator of this issue; Bullying was. The sooner we can all agree that this is focused more on bullying than mental health, the better. Mental health is only vaguely talked about towards the end of the series, talked about by Alex, or thrown about as a loose term among teenagers. Hannah and many others experience bullying over mental health issues. Bullying is ultimately what throws Hannah over the edge, after she is viewed as a sex object, objectified, raped, neglected, betrayed by friends, etc. This leads her into a dark place, but she does not begin the series in a dark place.

4.) The rape and suicide scene was too graphic, especially for kids.

This is my favorite because I don't know in what world these things wouldn't be graphic, people just don't like to physically see it? I'll admit, I was initially very shocked by how much blood was present, the squirting and oozing of it... and I am somebody that gets a papercut and nearly passes out. I could not watch that scene, but I appreciate and commend the directors for ultimately putting that in there. I'm sorry, is being faced with an actual suicide too much to handle? It is supposed to be. Too many times do we openly throw around the word "suicide" and "death" without truly understanding what that means. The same way people do not enjoy watching slaughterhouse videos of cows having their necks twisted around 360 degrees, but enjoy shamelessly eating burgers, facing the graphic parts of life helps you gain understanding. Nobody has ever said suicide was simple. When you hear of people hanging themselves, you don't think about the way bodies swell up, turn purple, bodily fluids begin rushing out the nearest hole it could find; but that is the reality of it. If you think you can talk about suicide without seeing it happen, then you will be misinformed and wrong. I myself had no problem hearing the words "Hannah Baker committed suicide" because it was some far off situation that I didn't quite understand the magnitude of. But when I actually watched that final scene, I watched her put the blade to her wrist, and saw her own face as she was shocked at how it felt and how it squirted, even she had no idea what it truly meant. Don't tell me the rape was too graphic, because that is the reality for so many women, men, and even children. Rape gets bloody, painful, violent, and it continues to happen. Victim-shaming continues to happen in our society, because people want to put blame onto the victim for letting it happen. If you think this was too graphic, even for kids, then I truly hope you justify through words the horrific visuals that accompany an act like this.

5.) It glorifies suicide.

Lastly, this is the grossest thing I've ever heard. I put this point after explaining how graphic the suicide was because I don't think anybody watched that scene and said: "that looks nice, I want that." (And if you know somebody who did, or if you were somebody that did, let me be the first to say that this in an indication of a deeper problem that needs to be addressed, professionally.) Everything about this show was frightening on one level or another. Directors of this show wanted it to be painful and raw because that is what happens in the dark corners of somebody's mind as they are struggling to survive. To say that suicide is glorified is admitting the truth that we do not talk about suicide as much as we should. The real, hard truths of suicide are not talked about nearly as much, and that in turn creates an idea of suicide that does not exist. If teens are watching this and believing suicide is the correct way to solve bad experiences, we have failed them. I would not take all of the knowledge on suicide and mental illnesses from this show and think of it as law, however, when teaching about these issues, this show does a great job at showing some very nasty and harsh insight into these topics.

Hannah reaches out multiple times, and many think that this enforces the idea that nobody will help you if you have this issue. In the last episode, Mr. Porter is blind to Hannah's very self-destructive ways, and in the end, fails her. I don't think this should be interpreted that way; this case is supposed to show the worst case scenario when dealing with suicide and mental health, so it ends with the worst case scenario, her suicide. The path to this, her reaching out for help, are all the right ways to go about this, and that does not get lost in translation. Reaching out for help is important, and she does that! However, particularly for Hannah Baker, the people around her were oblivious to a teen slowly slipping off the edge. Teenagers have a tendency to make things worse than they actually are, which is why many adults find this harmful. But think about how dramatic you were as a teen... the world did feel like it was going to end over the tiniest things. In order the understand the story, you must understand the characters involved. Teenage misfits, drama queens, dangerous jocks, etc., they're all there for a reason.

This show hits close to home because as of nearly six months ago, I didn't think there was a reason to carry on. The future seemed scary; I felt like I could not be good at anything enough to have a career, I was not doing well in school and I had teachers that made me feel like I was never going to amount to anything, my social life was nonexistent, etc. But after being put on medication, and with the support of my family and friends, I graduated from college, moved away from home, and am loving where I am at this point in my life. Many kids do not get the opportunity I did to carry on because they do not reach out for help. 13 Reasons Why came after I got better, but it helped me see that thousands of other people struggle with what I struggled with, and suicide does not have to be the final solution.

People who have issues with this show should really think about the way it helps gain awareness to the dark site of these issues. It was not supposed to be an easy ride as we watched Hannah Baker slip into a depression and end her life; it was supposed to hurt because this issue hurts millions all over the world. Someone out there has watched this, and used it as a cautionary tale; Hannah Baker's story is a cautionary tale for those debating suicide.

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