So before you dig into this article, I will say, a spoiler alert is in order. As you are guessing, this article looks back onto the newly popular show 13 Reasons Why (a show surrounding the subject of teen suicide) so if you haven’t read the book, like me, or you haven’t watched the show till the end, not like me because I tore through those episodes, turn back now.
Just the night before finishing the show and even before, I knew I needed to write about this, because honestly, sometimes it feels good to share your opinion, especially on heavy topics such as this. I watched the rest of 13 Reasons and I’ve got to say, it was hard to get through some parts. Of course, the parts I am referring to are Jessica’s rape scene, Hannah’s rape scene, and Hannah’s suicide. I actually had to flip the screen and turn down the sound or just fast-forward. After watching, I think everyone can agree that Mr. Porter, the school counselor, sucked at his job. But he is not most therapists and counselors. Actually, this part of the show is such a misinterpretation of seeking help and really most of the characters needed to reach out. In my opinion, out of all the hardhitting moments in the show, this one especially needs to be discussed because viewers should not leave with the idea that school counselors and professionals don't know hoe to help.
High school is hard and when someone is being bullied or feels depressed, sometimes it can be hard to admit their problems especially to an adult. Trust me when I say I’ve been there. Since the age of 10, I have had on and off again counseling for my anxiety and I’ve learned that sometimes it is okay to ask for help. In lieu of the show becoming more and more popular and the importance of asking for help, I have decided to make a list of the 13 Reasons Why It’s Okay to Seek Help if You Need It.
1. Counselors, if they aren’t like Mr. Porter, know what they are doing.
I’m not saying every counselor or therapist is perfect, after all we are all human beings but getting a professional to analyze you might help. Whether they are a school guidance counselor or someone not affiliated with the school, they may have a lot to say. Or not if you just want to talk.
2. You are not the only one
I’ve been down this road before. It is common to feel embarrassed when getting help but the funny thing is, even if you feel like the only one, you might not be! I visit with a counselor at my college and I know some of my friends have visited before as well. Finding out I had that in common helped. I’m not saying you may find someone right away but there are so many people who have gotten help and they might be standing right next to you. We are more than our outsides and everyone needs a little help sometimes.
3. One little rant can actually help
Have you ever had a lot to say but had no one to say it to? Because one of the ways you can do this is getting help. Of you find the right person who will listen to you empathetically and with an open mind, that might help. Counselors can help with this. Meetings don’t have to be just a bunch of breathing exercises or you hearing advice. It is okay to rant and honestly it might help because getting something off your chest can seriously feel like taking off a 5-pound backpack.
4. “Telling on someone” doesn’t mean you are a tattletale
One big part about 13 Reasons Why was the “don’t tell or bad things will happen” idea but telling someone does not have to mean that you are, as the kids call it, a tattletale. Sometimes, you can even report anonymously. The characters constantly battle to tell the truth about Hannah’s tapes but fear what might happen if they tell but honestly, if you are uncomfortable with a situation, you should tell an adult. But also remember, if it is someone else’s story to tell, they should tell it.
5. Getting help may lead you to some recourses
Because counselors and medical professionals are there to help you they can help you find even more resources such as support groups or websites you might want to look at. One website you might consider is the mighty, a site where people can share their experiences and coping skills with diseases and disorders such as OCD, Depression, and Eating disorders. This can go along with number 2 as websites can help you see there are more people going through what you’ve been going through.
6. It doesn’t have to be through a counselor or your parents
Many organizations helping with anxiety and depression have hotlines or online messaging sources if you are having a difficult time and need to talk. This can help you work through something if you are alone. I have personally never used these but these phone numbers are there for a reason.
7. It’s not just a phase or teen angst
Another part of the show that irked me was how many of the main characters kept saying that all Hannah wanted was attention and she was just a dramatic teenage and depending on how the audience feels, they may side with Hannah’s emotions or they might side against her emotions. Clay interacts with Sky, who dresses in all black and seems as if she has thick skin but after awhile Clay realizes that she has been using self-harm and decides to help her by befriending her. Some people might tell you that if you’re acting rebellious or eating differently that it is just a phase because high schoolers go through those, but it might not be If you think it could be more than a phase, it might be time to reach out. Whether you use a hotline, tell your parents, or the guidance counselor at you school, telling someone and saying it allowed may make you realize it could be something more.
8. Going won’t make you weaker but it will make you stronger
The idea that going to a counselor for help is weak or you just need to “tough it out” needs to be eliminated because getting help shows bravery. When you get help, you are admitting to yourself and others that you want to be your best self and life is not easy. One of my first weeks of college, I made the decision to start visiting a counselor because I could see myself getting depressed and honestly, it was one of the best decisions I made this year. When you ask for help, you are not the damsel in distress but a Hercules fighting his monsters. So if you do need to get help, know that you doing that is incredibly brave.
9. No one has to know
This one is a little obvious but still rings true. Of course if you are a minor, and if you tell a counselor something very important, legally, they have to tell your parents. Other than that, only you and the adults involved have to know. Not even your friends or if you have bullies in your life, need to know. However, when you are ready to share, you can always do that.
10. It isn’t like the movies
I’ll Admit that I am huge Pop culture fan and love my team movies but really most of them gloss over serious subjects. Basing your experience off of movie characters who heal much quicker might not be the best idea. Even 13 Reasons Why has its inaccurate moments as it is fiction. Instead, know that you can get help and do not have to do everything on your own.
11.There is nothing better than walking with confidence
This is so true. After talking with someone, getting it off your chest can feel awesome! Just coming out of a discussion that makes you feel confident feels great. Everyone needs confidence and seeking the help you need can get you that confidence back. Trust me, it feels good.
12. It is worth it
I cannot express enough how important getting help is. It may be hard at first to share what is going on in your life but once begin to share even to one person who can give you guidance, it can really help you. In the end, being able to share your story is also so worth it.
13. YOU are worth it
I’m serious. You. Are. Worth it. You are worth getting through all the vicissitudes of adolescence and getting to experience all the great memories as well. Getting help may seem difficult but you are worth it. You are beautiful and strong and you are worth it. Whether you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, struggling to love your body, feeling afraid, or even are just feeling sad lately, you are worth it. Finding a support system will give you the strength and bravery to get through this. Trust me. You are worth it.
If you ever need some guidance here are some helplines to look into
24-hour suicide hotline:
National eating Disorder Association Hotline
(visit www.nationaleatingdisorders.org for hours):
The Trevor Project (LGBTQ+) 24-hour Hotline:
24-hour sexual abuse, rape, incest Hotline:
For even more numbers visit http://www.teenhealthandwellness.com/static/hotlines#Suicide