13 Reasons Why: To Binge or Ban
“… Because the minute you start talking about it, it gets easier.“
~ Cast of 13 Reasons Why, Netflix
Before the second season of "13 Reasons Why" (the popular to controversial Netflix series) begins to roll, there is a brief message from some of the cast of the show...a public service announcement, if you will. A few of the cast members introduce themselves, as their CHARACTERS, and address the sensitive nature of the show and the emotionally charged topics it covers. The actors impress upon the audience the importance of knowing your own emotional and metal state and stability prior to watching; discourage the viewing if anyone does feel themselves to be in a delicate place themselves; and then encourage any viewing to be with or follow up with a trusted adult, to process the content and any feelings that could arise with the potentially disturbing subject matter.
Covering their butts? Maybe.
Responsible and right on the money. I believe so.
Last year, as a mental health practitioner, I don't think we anticipated the spotlight this Netflix binge opportunity would shine on ....well, all the things it spotlights - depression, suicide, bullying, sexual assault, relationships with friends, parents, school peers, even counselors. As any hot subject, there were many perspectives, opinions and sides taken on the show content, as well as pros AND cons. But I do know from personal experience, it provided ample opportunities to discuss these tricky topics with several of my clients and colleagues. Whether they watched the show, or not. It gave us non-threatening, relatable, common ground to start a conversation. For that, I am grateful.
Whether you decide to binge or ban the show this season, I wanted to share the talking points I shared with groups last year. These are just some tips we analyzed on if/how/when to watch, address, and process the show content with the teens in your life. And even for yourself. The show is not for everyone, but none of us are immune to these situations and triggers.
I think the one thing we can all agree on is the importance of reaching out in a time of need or darkness. We do not have to go through those times alone.
Important things to consider and how to use the content to have the important hard conversations with loved ones.
And since this is, ironically, Mental Health Awareness Month, I hope the show (or even just all the talk around the show) makes you just the slightest bit more aware...aware of:
signs and symptoms of depression and suicide
destructive behaviors, towards others and ourselves
how to talk to your loved ones who are hurting
how to get help for yourself if you are hurting
Don't hesitate to reply or get in touch with me if you have any questions about the handout, things to clarify, etc. Because I do believe in the statement I began this blog with, noted by the cast...communicating helps...helps everything.