I first heard about 13 Reasons Why on social media. At first, I thought it was just another trendy show and since many of the people posting about it were much younger than me, I didn't think it would pertain to me. Then, a former student mentioned the book. I love to read and have it made it a personal goal to read 100 books this year, so I ordered it right away.
For those of you, like me, that were ignorant of this new series, 13 Reasons Why is about teen Clay Jensen, who finds tapes on his doorstep. These tapes are a sort of "diary" of classmate Hannah Baker and explain the 13 reasons why she took her own life.
I was immediately drawn into the story and not since the book Speak, have I read a YA novel that I found so accurate and important. Most women and girls I've spoken to since reading can agree...we have all been Hannah Baker in some aspect at some point.
I started the Netflix Original series this weekend and while I think it is a little more over the top than the book, it is still well done and needs to be seen. Do I think a teen needs to sit and watch it with his or her parents like many are suggesting? Not particularly--some of it is very graphic, disturbing, and triggering and as a parent, I think the book serves the purpose on educating and as a catalyst for conversation about teen suicide and bullying.
Who do I think must watch this show now? Or at least read the book? Educators: teachers, admin, everyone...basically, if you work with teens, pick it up! And definitely, parents need to find the time to absorb this material as well--if you have a teen, make this an opportunity to have a conversation.
My husband and I were recently talking about the staggering statistics revolving around teen runaways and suicide and it has lead me to question how best to parent my own child.
According to the CDC, in 2013, 41,149 suicides occurred in the United States. The AFSP notes that there is an average of 121 suicides daily...and none of this indicates how many attempt suicide. For more information or to get help, please visit the National Suicide Hotline.