It can’t be easy understanding a subject that is scary and unknown to many. Being a Freshman in high school, I first-hand experienced what it was like to lose a friend to suicide. I still have trouble talking about it, because it is not an easy topic to discuss let alone remember. Thirteen Reasons Why shows the heartache and grief that Hannah’s parents, and friends experienced as a result of her suicide. Her mother and father desperately seek answers as to why Hannah, the light of their life, decided her life was not worth living anymore. Then there is Clay, Hannah’s friend (possibly more if she hadn’t ended her life so soon) who didn’t know of the things that plagued her soul. And just like Hannah, if my friend had known that anyone at all cared or saw the signs that he was reaching out for help, he may still be here today.
I am glad that the show has brought light to subjects such as suicide, rape, and bullying, because these are subjects that many prefer not to talk about, because they are dark and uncomfortable to discuss and address. It is this fear of talking about the seriousness that prompts people to make light of the subject, joke, and brush it off. I have seen many tweets, posts, and articles that joke about Clay, and his serious reaction to Hannah’s recording. I would say Clay’s reaction was exactly how we should all react, which is with seriousness and grief for Hannah. Many poke fun at how Tony follows Clay, when really Tony wanted to ensure Clay’s safety, something he wished he could’ve done for Hannah. I think people have the right to enjoy the show, fall in love with the amazing characters and acting, and the remarkable yet heartbreaking story. But to make fun of these characters and to throw around Hannah’s situation is exactly what the message of Hannah’s story is trying to defeat. Things should be taken seriously, because you just don’t know how something may affect a person. Hannah’s story shows how bullying, rumors, and rape, when ignored, will lead people to do things that are irreversible. Choosing to make jokes about the show is ignoring the awareness of these topics that the show/book is trying to raise.
In a society where it is easy to desensitize topics such as suicide by only seeing it through a screen and sharing jokes about the situation behind social media accounts, we should all remember that these things are real, and that they happen. Remind yourself and others that there is someone out there in a lot of pain who is afraid to ask for help or who thinks they are a joke, because Hannah’s story has become the brunt of a joke to many. I don’t think many meant to make others feel this way by making these jokes, just like Alex didn’t mean for his joke to affect Hannah the way it did, so be careful, as Alex wished to have been.
If you are in a dark place, please remember it is no laughing matter, seek help:
-National Suicide Prevention Hotline: Call 1-800-273-8255 (Available 24hr a day)
-National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673 (Available 24hr a day)