13 Reasons Why should be mandatory viewing for all

13 Reasons Why should be mandatory viewing for all

Amanda Roth

Chris DiLullo, Sports Editor

*If you or someone you know is considering self-harm, please reach out to a guidance counselor or trusted adult. If one is not available to you, please contact 211. In case of an emergency, call 911 immediately.

I’ve never felt this way about anything before. I’ve watched hundreds of movies, listened to thousands of songs and lived 17 years on our planet; yet, I’ve never felt the way I did after watching 13 Reasons Why ever before.

The show is about a 17-year-old named Hannah Baker, played by Katherine Langford, that commits suicide and leaves behind 13 cassette tapes containing the reasons as to why she did so. Clay Jensen, played by Dylan Minnette, is given the tapes and begins a journey to uncover the truth not only about Hannah but about the world around him. 

There has never been anything that has made me feel as horrible about myself and the humanity as this show. It shows the worst in us, the pain we are capable of, and worst of all, how ignorant we can be. We live in a society where we don’t prevent, we react. The show demonstrates this perfectly, putting up posters about suicide prevention after Hannah hurts herself.

When Hannah feels empty, I feel empty. I don’t cry when I watch television or when I listen to music. Yet, I came close to crying countless times during my viewing of this show. Never has something felt so relevant and close to me, which is exactly why watching this series should be mandatory.

We, as a society, have so much work to do to improve. We create jokes about suicide; I’m sure you have heard or perhaps even made some of these jokes. I can’t tolerate that anymore; it’s too painful to think what that joke could do to someone. Why don’t we have posters up in school about suicide prevention? Or more signs around town? Anything to help in preventing such a tragedy is helpful.

Additionally, it should be mandatory because of what it shows in the aftermath of a suicide. For each Hannah, for each individual that harms himself/herself, there is always a Clay, a Baker family: people that care about him/her. If anyone ever feels like no one cares about them, like their life doesn’t matter and that life would be better without them, they are wrong. Each person is so vital to life that losing them would cause unmeasurable pain, something this show demonstrates perfectly. By using this show instructionally, we can better address not only how to treat someone dealing with suicidal thoughts but also had to take measures to prevent behaviors that contribute to someone feeling suicidal.

After watching the show, I felt the pain of Clay, of Hannah and of Hannah’s parents. I felt lost, empty…everything that Hannah felt. 13 Reasons Why is unique in that it allows you to see into the life of someone that has harmed herself and understand her in deep and important ways. I never felt the motivation to make change within my school, my society and most significantly, my life, before watching 13 Reasons Why.