Mental Health & Entertainment:13 Reasons Why Is A Step In The Right Direction

This show became popular not only because Selena Gomez was the director but also for the cast and the issues it brought up. If you don’t know what 13 Reasons Why is let me catch you up. 13 Reasons Why is a Netflix TV show, it’s about a girl named Hannah Baker and the ordeals that led her to commit suicide. It may sound extreme or even violent but it really isn’t. It was a first of its kind in the film industry that tackled major issues that have either been neglected or avoided by the media industry.

Teen suicide is one of the highest causes of deaths among the youth and is caused by various issues. To some, it may be a laughable matter but in our society today it is real and can happen to anyone. It is caused by many different factors and it is not to say that anyone wanted the easy way out. Teen suicide has increased over the past few years along with the emergent growth of social media activity. Preventing Teenage Suicides: What Are The Risk Factors?

So what exactly is the importance of all this and why do we need to turn our attention to it? Well for starters these are our children and if we can’t provide safe spaces for them then we have failed as a society. 13 Reasons Why takes off the blindfold that we have adamantly shielded our eyes with and opens up space for discussions and also for these issues to be tackled. Issues such as bullying, rape, mental health issues and suicide are now being openly addressed and organizations offering help to victims are sprouting up all over.

You may think this is a western issue and in our African context this is not a norm, but who is to say that those in the west are different from us. We all already know teenage years are not the easiest to manoeuvre. Pairing that with school and other responsibilities may make for unforeseen pressure among the youth. Social media also plays a key role in this as we see the trends and the teens desperate to follow them and fit in. The psychological pressure put on the youth by the schools, parents and even society may cause one to just snap and take their own life, not to say that it should happen but it can.

Who will be there to guide the youth and let them know that they don’t have to be anything other than themselves? Who will be there to offer a guiding hand whenever the pressures are too much? No one will be unless we take a stand and tackle these issues head-on. It will remain the same unless someone breaks the silence and starts the conversation. No change will be made unless someone takes a stance and decides it’s time for us to deal with this present issue.

13 Reasons Why took the bold stand and raised the hardest issues, asked the hardest questions and provided alternative solutions. We need to talk about mental health and the issues that people face especially teenagers. The issue of mental health is as important as physical health, we should not be shaming people but creating spaces where people who are suicidal can get help, before its too late.

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