Despite all the hand wringing, web TV series “13 Reasons Why” isn’t as scary or bad as some are saying. So here are my thirteen reasons why 13 Reasons Why isn’t a bad thing:
1 – We are talking about teen suicide. If the more we talk about difficult topics, the more light we shed on them, and the less power aforementioned topic holds over us, then talking about teen suicide has to be one for the plus column.
2 – Suicide is the number one killer of youths age 10-24 (according to the Center for Disease Control). Obviously, what we have been doing isn’t working and 13 Reasons Why has caused us to rethink how we could and should handle teen suicide differently.
3 – Teens are openly criticizing the way in which school administrators handled fictional Hannah Baker’s attempts to reach out for help before taking her own life and parents are in agreement. Teens and parents agreeing! Enough said.
4 – School administrators are sending emails and letters to parents advising how to read this book or watch this series WITH our teenagers and how to discuss the issues openly. Again, igniting conversations helps to alleviate stigma and greatly helps prevention efforts.
5 – Magazines are publishing articles, in conjunction with criticisms of 13 Reasons Why, with links to resources for help, driving home the importance of parents being involved in our kids’ lives even as they grow up and grow older.
6 – Teenagers are recognizing the signs and symptoms that may present themselves prior to a suicide attempt and are learning the difference between positive reactions and negative ones.
7 – School counsellors are reaching out to parents and teens to encourage them to talk about this series and find ways TOGETHER to process the content in a healthy way.
8 – Not only is this series a springboard for discussing teen suicide, but also rape, and the more we talk about it, the less power it holds and the better chance we have of preventing it in the first place.
9 – Not only is this series a launching pad for discussions about rape and teen suicide but also the terrible aftermath and consequences thereof.
10 – Not only are we now talking about rape, teen suicide, the awful consequences of each, but also now the aftermath to the psyche of a silent bystander. See something? SAY SOMETHING!
11 – How about the fact that 13 Reasons Why gives us the opportunity to have a conversation with our teenagers about underage drinking and the dangers that come with it?
12 – This series shines a light on bullying and cyberbullying and the more we TALK about it…well, you get me by now.
13 – 13 Reasons Why affords me the opportunity to provide resources for you and your teen here:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-8255
Editor, Ask Lala
Laura Fogarty writes “Ask Lala” for the Stop Abuse Campaign. She is a mother, an advocate and the author of two children’s abuse prevention books: I’M THE BOSS OF ME! and WE ARE JUST ALIKE!