Before moving onto the next set of dangerous messages in 13 Reasons Why, find out why I’m making these
Tape 10: Adults are Clueless about What Really Goes On
Believe it or not, but every adult was once a confused, troubled, vulnerable teenager. Yes, even your parents but this is one of the dangerous messages in 13 Reasons Why because the show makes you think that adults are absolutely clueless. It makes you think that parents, teachers, counselors and basically every adult knows nothing about depression and suicide. What’s worse is that you’re subliminally told that adults don’t listen and/or can’t help depressed and/or suicidal kids.
You can’t trust parents or adults to understand
These are some of the most dangerous messages in 13 Reasons Why and for a variety of reasons. The first is that the 13 Reasons Why message tells you that, if you were to reach out to an adult, they wouldn’t take you seriously. I can say that if you approached an adult and told them you’re thinking of suicide and need help, the last thing they would do is shrug it off. Now don’t get me wrong, some may very well not understand but the majority of adults will sit down and figure the situation out with you. The stigma is slowly breaking. You also want to keep in mind that personnel dealing with teenagers within their profession are obligated to take action in Canada.
Stereotyping adults is one of the most dangerous messages in 13 Reasons Why
The Thirteen Reasons Why show completely stereotypes adults. It makes you think that if you were to reach out they would either not listen, or respond in a completely insulted way. Cue the random breakfast Clay had where his parents refilled his medication after years of being off of it because he was acting off.
This is an extremely harmful message for children thinking about whether or not they should open up to their parents. It teaches them that there’s no point because you won’t get help and they won’t understand.
You are secretly told that you can’t go to your parents about depression and suicide. Heck, according to the 13 Reasons Why message, you can’t even go to a school counselor. Why? Because they simply don’t get it. To further make this one of the most dangerous messages in 13 Reasons Why, the show goes on to make you think that you should go ahead and commit suicide if adults aren’t responding to your silent – and even outrageously loud – cries for help.
What’s worse is this message extends into sexual abuse, drug and alcohol abuse, bullying, etc. The parents of the kids involved in 13 Reasons Why never catch on and the ones that do handle the situation poorly.
My experience with adults dealing with depressed or suicidal teenagers
I can personally tell you that adults do listen and they aren’t as clueless as you think. While the signs of suicide aren’t always easy to see, if you were to reach out for help, most adults will respond appropriately. My brother has struggled with severe chronic depression for the majority of his life. After one suicide attempt at a younger age – and us responding appropriately – he now openly discusses how he’s feeling. He has even called in the middle of the night in hysterics, begging for help and we always get it for him. We always race to his side, calm him down, and take the necessary actions to get him feeling happy and healthy.
Even when I was in high school – more than 10 years ago – I knew I could get the help I needed from the adults surrounding me. If it wasn’t my parents, I knew I could go to my friend’s parents or teachers that I was close with. I knew I wasn’t alone.
Adults who don’t understand need to change their mindset
Now, don’t get me wrong – not every adult will understand mental illness or know how to help you. So, it’s important to continue raising awareness, sharing this article, and getting people to talk about depression and suicidal. The more resources adults have, the more they will understand.
Most adults never had to deal with mental illness growing up. While anxiety, depression, and suicide still happened, it was all kept hush-hush. There was too big of a stigma associated with mental illness, so no one talked about it. You can’t blame the adults of today for not knowing exactly what to do but as a society, we can help guide them.
If you are an adult who knows absolutely nothing about mental illness, it’s time to come out from under the rock. Anxiety, depression and suicide is everywhere. Resources and information are readily available to you. It’s your duty as an adult to know how to help the youth; they are our future.
You Can’t Rely on People to Notice your Help
With that said, I think it’s important for kids and teenagers to know that they can’t rely on people to notice signs of suicide. Sometimes, you have to be bold with your approach. You might have to sit an adult down and tell them exactly how you’re feeling, you may even have to spell out S-U-I-C-I-D-E. The best way to get help is to be open and honest about your struggles. Subtle signs don’t always work. So, don’t rely on people to notice. More importantly, if they don’t notice, it’s not a go-ahead to kill yourself. There’s always someone who can help you. Sometimes, you have to shout it, depending on who you’re speaking to.
If you or someone you know is suffering, please contact the Canadian National Suicide Helpline.
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