The new Netflix binge among high school and college age students is 13 Reasons Why. The show focuses on tapes that were left behind by Hannah Baker, who took her own life. The tapes told her story from a view that she kept hidden from the world. She told what events led her into her depression, isolation, and feeling like there was no where else to go. Some people have spoke out that this show was not the way to portray the problem of suicide. But I argue that this was Hannah's way of leaving a "note," considering several times throughout episodes her mom asked why she did not leave a note. Hannah is not coming right out and saying these people killed her, it was their actions that made her feel as if she was nothing and alone that led her to feel this way. Suicide is never the answer and that these people pushed her to feel that that was her only way out should be eye-opening to all those that watch it. Here are 13 things that the show can teach those who watch it:
1. Watch what you say
What you say to someone can stick with them forever or even what you say about them. That was a main theme of the tapes that were left behind. Hannah was called a slut and easy all because of what someone said she did, when in fact she never did. Justin was responsible for this being the thing that started the tornado of bad things were going to happen.
2. Watch what you write
No matter if your words are verbal or written does not matter, they still hurt. Alex put on a list that Hannah had the best ass and Jessica, his girlfriend at the time, as worst ass. This sparked a feud between Jessica and Hannah causing Jessica to slap her across the face at Monet's because she felt portrayed. Alex caused Hannah to lose her first best friend and that took her another step in the wrong direction.
3. Do not leave anyone alone at a party
This is something that occurred twice in season 1. Both times lead to someone being raped and it happened to be by the same person. Hannah witnessed from the safety of the closet, Jessica being raped by Bryce at a party while she was passed out drunk. Hannah had to live with the fact that Justin covered it up to protect Bryce instead of his girlfriend. She tried to tell Jessica, but that just led to a bigger fight and their friendship being even more broken. In episode 12, Hannah was left alone at Bryce's party in the hot tub. Bryce came out of nowhere to join her. You can probably see where this is going, so I won't go into all that happened. But I will say this was what broke Hannah further than she already was. No matter how drunk you are or how much fun you are having that does NOT mean that you let anyone be left alone. They do not have to be your friend or you may not even know them, but you have the responsibility of protecting them from someone taking advantage of them and harming them in any way. It can be a girl or boy. No matter what no one should be left alone.
4. Do not go against someone's trust
When someone says to you "please do not repeat this to anyone" or "do not share this with anyone" you need to respect that. No matter how badly you want to tell someone else what they told you, don't. Even if you stop being friends that does not mean that the secret promise is broken because that person told you that in confidence and expected you to keep it until the end of time. Ryan went against this trust. He published a very personal poem that Hannah told in a judgement free zone to the school's literary magazine without her permission. She was embarrassed that the whole school read something that she was not completely confident in. People were able to tell it was her handwriting because he scanned the page it was written on and published it. The stares became more and more frequent. Whispers became louder. Hannah was led into a deeper humiliation than she was at before after the other 7 episodes.
5. Social Media is forever
Once you put something out on the web it never goes away. This was taught to us through the picture that circulated around school by Tyler of Hannah and Courtney kissing. There was no context of why the picture even occurred when it was sent out. Hannah and Courtney were drunk and playing truth or dare. This lead to Courtney daring Hannah to kiss her and that is how that picture came to existence since Tyler was outside the window taking pictures.
6. Know your limit
I am not going to sit here and tell you to not have fun while in high school, but I will tell you that it is good to know where your limit is in terms of alcohol. There is no need to go overboard and get black out drunk. There is also no need to drink and drive, which is what everyone thought was the cause of Jeff's death. It is not worth all the hardships that are likely to follow from over drinking or drinking or driving.
7. Own up to your mistakes
We are not perfect humans. We make mistakes, but it is how we handle those mistakes that makes us a better person. Hannah gets this message across in her tape about Sheri. Sheri hit a stop sign and did not stay to report the damage, even when Hannah insisted that they did. Jeff was leaving the party to go to the store and since the stop sign was not there to tell him to stop he kept going and ended up in an accident that killed him and left an older man injured. Sheri eventually at the end of season one owned up to her mistake of not reporting it and costing the life of a classmate.
8. Do not try too hard to fit in
We are all not meant to fit in with the groups that we want so badly to fit into to. Hannah shows this with Jessica's party. Hannah and Clay felt out of place there because they were not part of the "popular" group. Find the group of people that will not betray you and will stand by your side even when people are trying to ruin your reputation. True friends with not care what rumors are going around about you, they will believe your side of the story.
9. Take a chance
It was revealed to Clay on his tape that he did in fact have a chance with Hannah, but she did not want to ruin him. She thought she would destroy him. Clay was afraid to love her. If Clay had taken the chance in showing Hannah that not all guys are going to hurt her like Justin, Marcus, and Zach did then that might have been able to bring her out of the state of mind that she was in. You never know how taking once chance can change a situation for the better. So never be afraid to take chances in life because you never know what you might miss out on.
10. If you suspect something say something
Clay had a hunch that Hannah had written the note that was read aloud in class in the anonymous compliment bag. He even voiced this to the class, but not until after Hannah had already committed suicide. However, you could tell from the flashback to the class that there was a sense that people had a feeling that it was written by Hannah. However, no one had the guts to say anything about it. Even if your suspicions are wrong still say something because you never know until you say something.
11. No response does NOT mean yes
Just because someone does not say no that does not mean that they do not want to do anything sexual with you. Or if they are unresponsive and unable to say no that is a situation where no sexual action should be done to the person. You NEED consent, a definite yes or no answer to proceed in any type of sexual activity!
12. Revenge is never the answer
Getting revenge on someone is never the answer because you can end up making the situation even worse. Clay tried to get revenge on Tyler and Zach and that just made things worse not only for them, but for Clay as well. Justin and his "crew" ended up getting Clay suspended because they planted weed in his bookbag and then reported it. The situations were going to play out like they were meant to and no form of revenge needed to be taken.
13. Suicide is not new and it is most certainly real
The show brought suicide to the face of the media, but it is most certainly not anything new to our society. You would be surprised by the amount of people around you have felt some for of suicidal thought in their lifetime. Also you do not know who around you has actually attempted. 13 Reasons Why showed us to watch what we say to others, but it should have been something we were already doing because suicide did not just start. Our society needs to have a better understanding of this and make moves in the direction of lowering rates of suicide to the point where there are none.