There have been a lot of articles recently about the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. Some of them positive but a lot of them negative. I read the book years ago and loved it. Here's why I love the series:
1. It accurately portrays teens. I know some who were mad that the teens didn't all immediately run to the adults in their lives but the series was not an after school special showing what kids should do, it showed what they do. Unfortunately, it is common for teens to not seek adult support.
2. It has lead some teens to seek out support they otherwise would not have. I have first hand knowledge of kids talking to their parents about bullying, suicidal ideation, and/or self harm after watching the series.
3. It has opened up some parents minds of some aspects of what is going on with teens that they had no idea about.
4. I've had clients tell me they had no idea some things they have done that were mean could have such an impact on another.
5. I've had clients open up to me about suicidal thoughts they had in the past but never shared.
6. The portrayal of how Hannah's suicide effected her parents was so raw and emotional. I know (because they told me) it has helped some clients see that if they died, it would devastate their parents. Sadly, they had reported before watching the show, they knew their parents would be sad but didn't really "get" just how much.
7. It shows how ingrained our rape culture is and the need for drastic changes. The level that the other students protected Bryce was disgusting.
8. The portrayal of the outcomes of the rapes on the victims also showed how much shame and fear are involved especially with the idea of reporting it.
9. Clay realizing he should have told Hannah how he felt made me hope that others watching will take the leap to share their feelings.
10. It was a very diverse cast which was awesome!
11. The fact that some of the "good" kids in the school engaged in negative and dangerous behavior was powerful. I think often we put people into boxes and forgot we all have numerous sides. For example, Marcus was top of the class, very involved in school activities, and viewed as a "nice" guy. He was able to frame Clay without anyone suspecting anything.
12. The fact that everyone missed all the signs that Alex was suicidal was incredible. He gave many clues that he was not handling things well but no one told. This is common but needs to change. I'm always proud of students who share that they are worried about a friend. Better a mad friend then a dead friend.
13. The acting was amazing!
The one thing I did not like was the graphic portrayal of Hannah's suicide. I do not think it was necessary but I still feel the series very much worth watching.
Stefanie F. Pisarkiewicz, LPC
Experience and information from a counselor and mother- sharing her two cents on children and teens.