If you’ve been on social media at all in the last week, you’ve most likely heard of the internet’s new obsession: 13 Reasons Why. Executive produced by Selena Gomez, the Netflix series follows Clay Jensen as he listens to tapes left by his former classmate, Hannah Baker, as she reveals to her classmates why she decided to take her own life.
The show has been trending on social media ever since it’s release as teenagers all across the globe have been enthralled by the show, desperate to find out what actually happened to Hannah Baker.
How come it took a T.V series to get the world to understand the dangers of actions and words?
While scrolling through my own timeline on Twitter I saw a tweet from @13ReasonsFans that read, “if 13 reasons why hasn’t made you really watch what you say to others and how you treat people then you need to check yourself.” I paused and re-read the tweet as one question kept running through my head. How come people are just realizing that they need to watch how they treat others? How come people are just realizing that suicide is an important issue?
According to a study conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics the suicide rate rose by 24% between 1999 and 2014; the highest it was in 30 years. Researchers also found an alarming increase of girls ages 10-14 who died from suicide. The number rose from 50 girls in 1999 to 150 in 2014, a 200% increase. The suicide rate increased for every age and ethnicity group except for two: black men and those over 75.
The rates are alarming and are still on the rise today, which raises another series of questions. Why has nobody been talking about it? How come it took a T.V series to get the world to understand the dangers of actions and words?
While the series sheds a much-needed light on the issue it should not be the only reason you care about suicide. The hundreds of thousands of families who have lost loved ones to suicide are why you should care. The staggering statistics are why you should care. The people who felt so alone and hurt by the world that they felt the need to take their own lives are why you should care.
Watching Hannah Baker take her own life in the show is absolutely devastating and was the desperate wake-up call we all needed, but don’t let it be the reason you finally care. Care because it’s an issue that matters, not because you are upset that Clay and Hannah can’t be together.
As I’ve scrolled through my own timeline I’ve seen a multitude of posts about the relationships in the show and how if Hannah was still alive those relationships could’ve happened. Social media is romanticizing those relationships, which exemplifies the belief that some are ignorant to the suicide and are solely focused on the entertainment part of the story.
Suicide isn’t just an issue that exists in the realm of 13 Reasons Why; it exists all around us. People take their own lives every day as a result of the bullying that persists in person and on social media. Please watch what you say and the actions you take as they could have a catastrophic effect on someone else. Care about suicide because it’s taken countless of lives that didn’t deserve to be ended.
If you or a loved one is struggling with suicide please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)