I finished watching 13 Reasons Why, finally. I have so many thoughts and emotions about it because when I was in high school, we didn’t have to deal with the things the kids are dealing with in the show or what the kids are dealing with today. I was in high school when social media was just becoming a thing and in college when camera phones were being more well-known. During that time you couldn’t take pictures or record and then upload them to social media like you can today.
We are in a times where suicide is becoming the norm that I am afraid for the future. An 8 year-old boy took his life, Kingston Frazier, because he was bullied so badly. He was seen on camera being beat up in the entrance of the boys’ bathroom and he was knocked to the floor and knocked unconscious, basically left for dead. Two days later he hung himself from his bunk bed and died.
How his parents never saw the signs of his demeanor changing, I will never know. I attribute bullying and being bullied going unnoticed to the times changing. Nowadays, both parents are working and the child is being left in the care of someone else or the parents get off work and are too tired to ask how their child’s day was or notice that they have changed. There are always signs that lead up to a child committing suicide, always, they just go ignored. At least one other person knows the child needs help but does nothing.
Before Hannah committed suicide, she made cries for help on several occasions but no one seemed to either take her seriously, or just ignored her. She even went to the counselor for help and he lied about her telling him she needed help. Her suicide could’ve very well been prevented.
Many times when people commit suicide, they feel like no one cares enough. They know people care, but not enough to make them reconsider. They often times feel like they don’t matter, their feelings don’t matter, what they are going through doesn’t matter, they are alone. I know because I have been there more than once.
There are many triggers of suicide but the most common are rape and bullying, bullying seeming to be the front runner given social media and the likes of YouTube and World Star Hip Hop. People would rather record someone being bullied, beat up, killed or raped, then post it online, than report it. People want their 15 minutes of fame or to make something go viral at the expense of another person.
When did we become so heartless and desensitized?
I can’t even look at half the videos uploaded and passed around of someone being severally beaten or killed. It does something to me. The fact that you can take the life of another person or beat them close to that point, how can you live with yourself or sleep at night?
How can you live with the fact of knowing you were the reason someone took their own life?
Depression is the result of a traumatic experience whether it be rape, bullying, watching someone you love die, having drug addict parents, etc. Depression is something I think that people don’t take serious enough and it is often times used loosely. As someone who suffers from depression, it is a serious matter. Even more serious is how the person deals with it.
Counseling is one thing that many people will recommend, but it doesn’t work for everyone. It didn’t work for me. If anything, it made things worse. Sometimes talking to someone, can make those suffering from depression feel judged and scrutinized. It can even make the situation worse and make them more likely to follow through with ending their lives.
Things We Can Do To Help
- Be nice to people. You never know what they may have going on in their lives. They could be on the very edge about to jump off when they come in contact with you and what you say to them can either push them off or make them take a step back from the ledge. People don’t realize how words can affect a person. They saying, ” Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me,” is complete bullshit. If anything, words hurt more because they target the mental and emotional parts of a person. Telling someone they are nothing, they were a mistake, they’ll never be shit or to kill themselves, are things that can really damage a person and send them into a deep depression because they will begin to believe these things, especially if told repeatedly, and especially if told by someone close to them that they thought loved them.
- Take notice when someone’s behavior changes, whether it be their mood, their appearance, especially if it is a drastic change that was not meant for the better. These changes get ignored often. You should always say something and not just once. Keep saying something or asking if they need help. Keep pushing, don’t just let it go. They will say no but the fact that you are asking and prying, they will know you care and will eventually open up. If someone wants you to leave them alone, literally leave them by themselves and you know something is wrong, don’t. You can just sit there quietly and leave them alone. Leave them to their thoughts but don’t physically leave them alone.
- Get help if you even remotely sense that someone will take their own life. Tell their parent, call the suicide hotline, call the police, tell anyone who you know can help. There is always someone to tell. In 13 Reasons Why, all the people closest to Hannah saw the signs but they ignored them because they knew that it had something to do with them and they didn’t want to get themselves in trouble. In their selfish ways, they cost Hannah her life. Ignoring a situation won’t make it go away. In fact, it has been proven to make things worse by ignoring them and letting the problems fester and mutate.
- Think before you react. We are a reacting people and that is something we have to get control of. If someone is lashing out at you and you know for a fact that you had nothing to do with it, don’t react by lashing back at them. Find the deeper issue of their problem, the real issue. If it is someone really close to you, try to calm them down and get them to talk as much as possible. Listen to what they are saying, which goes into my next point.
- Listen when someone says they want to talk or wants you to just listen. Don’t interject your thoughts or opinions unless they ask you to. Many people who are on the verge of suicide just wants someone to listen to them and not say anything. Just be there for them to talk their problems out, showing them that you care and that you have time for them and that they matter. Not everything warrants a response. Just be a listening ear, literally.
- Parents pay more attention to your children. I don’t give a damn how tired you are. They didn’t ask to be brought into this world, you made that decision for them. Listen to them. Ask about their day, be open and approachable, show them that they can come to you with absolutely anything, no matter what it is or how hard it is to listen to. Parents can be the biggest trigger because parents are the first people a child loves and trusts and without that, the child will lack nurturing. Make time for your kids, ample time. Take them out and spend time with them. Put your phones away. If your child is always on their phone, that’s a problem. Have family nights and game nights. Family time is essential because that lets the child know that they are cared about and that they are wanted by you. Nothing is more important than the wellbeing and safety of your child. Also, monitor what your kids are watching and being exposed to. Kingston was 8 and how did he know to hang himself from his bed? He more than likely found a video on the internet.
- Teachers are also people who see signs and as a teacher it is your ethical and legal responsibility to report a child whose behavior has drastically changed. Don’t write it off as them wanting attention or showing out. There is a reason behind it that you or someone else needs to get to before it’s too late.
- If your friend is contemplating suicide and they tell you in a joking way, don’t take it as a joke. 9 times out of 10 they are very serious and you should treat them saying it as such. Friends notice when their friend changes being that you are the person they talk to the most and hang around the most. You know them and you know how they usually are. If you see changes try to talk to them. If they refuse, get someone else involved who you know will help. Sure your friend will be mad at you but at least they will be alive and will thank you later.
- Always go with your gut instinct. Too many times in the show, the people around Hannah held back instead of going after her. If one person, just one person had gone after her, the outcome would’ve been so different. She would still be alive. If one person had cared enough, she would’ve reconsidered. If you feel something is wrong and that you should go to a friend’s house, GO!!! Risk getting a ticket if it means saving their life.
- Never joke about someone who has committed suicide. It is not a laughing matter. They always referred to Hannah as the dead girl. What if someone around you is contemplating suicide and you are saying that this other person who took their life just wanted attention, they were weak, they took the easy way out, they’re a coward, etc., that person is more than likely going to take that you are calling them that and make things worse. No one who commits suicide is doing it for attention, for how could they? They are now deceased and would not reap the benefits of the attention.
Suicide can be prevented, the signs just have to stop being ignored. If you or someone you know is thinking about committing suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255, or visit their website, Suicide Prevention Lifeline.