13 Reasons Why
Teen suicide explodes into the forefront of societal discussions as new television series highlight bullying, family conflict, and socioeconomical struggles. Suicidal signs are often overlooked due to its taboo stereotype. However, suicide and depression are very real. 13 Reasons Why, a Netflix series, shows us the reality and seriousness of this controversial subject. 13 Reasons Why is about a young girl who commits suicide, however, before she does she makes a tape for everyone who she feels has contributed to this final decision to end her life. Many viewers and critics are appalled because they feel that the show is too graphic and/or depressing; but the show is right on target! If we are to ever have a fighting chance against suicide, the first step is to talk about it.
The first step to the prevention of any societal problem is education. Without knowledge of the problem, we can acquire the appropriate weapons to combat the enemies of mental health. Education gives a person the necessary knowledge to make an executive decision about a situation. Maybe if Haley, the 13 Reasons Why series’ main character, took time to speak to the people she felt contributed to her self-destruction, the entire situation may have been avoided.
An important fact in the series is that Haley took the time to make detailed tapes highlighting the consequential impact of each person who wronged her. That means her decision was calculated, deliberate, and slightly revengeful. She took the time to make 13 tapes (hence the name 13 Reasons Why) both with a side A and B to send to 13 people with instructions before she died. This gives us an interesting perspective of suicide, depression, and the teenage mind.
5 Warning signs that a child is suicidal
1. Change in eating and sleeping habits. This is one of the main signs of depression. This is usually accompanied by suicidal thought if allowed to carry on for a long period of time.
2. Withdrawal from friends, family, and regular activities. When a child begins to lose interest in normal activities as a parent it is time to step in.
3. Disinterest in using their computers and cell phones to text friends
4. Frequent complaints about physical symptoms, often related to emotions, such as stomachaches, headaches, fatigue, etc.
5. Loss of interest in pleasurable activities
3 Things you should do if you suspect your child is suicidal
1. Pay close attention to warning signs. If your child begins to be withdrawn, eating and sleeping habits change, or even changes in personality can all be signs of suicidal thoughts.
2. Encourage your child to talk to someone. Children and their parents are not always best friends. Arrange for the child to speak with a counselor, preacher, teacher, or anyone they trust.
3. Show your concern, love and support. By having Stay involved with you children. Keep the lines of communication open. Have conversations on a regular basis and keep them active. Your child may feel more compelled to confide in you. Most importantly, If they do open up, take it very seriously!
Maxie Malone - Licensed Professional Counselor-Intern
Dr. Jada Jackson - Licensed Professional Counselor/Licensed Mental Health Counselor