13 Reasons to Help
13 Reasons Why has become a Netflix phenomenon, but perhaps we should ask why? It’s relevant, packs an emotional punch and has a complex message that connects with its viewers. The show is incredibly dark and full of subtle (and some not so subtle) morals for its viewers about helping everyone you meet.
Here are 13 ways the show has taught us to help others
Never make assumptions: This certainly appears to be the biggest moral of the show as we get bombarded with it again and again through people Hannah meets. Everyone has seen the compromising photos and heard the rumors about Hannah. However few people at the school know, or care about, the truth.
Take responsibility for your actions: This was also a biggie on 13 Reasons Why. All of the characters struggle with taking responsibility for their actions, that’s why Hannah made the tapes. For instance, Jess continually claims Hannah is lying in order to protect herself and Justin does the same. In the end, it only hurts them more.
Spend time with loved ones: Hannah’s parents appear fairly well-adjusted apart from their financial trouble which quickly becomes all consuming. Yet in all the months leading up to Hannah’s suicide, not once do we see either her mom or dad sit down and have a real conversation with Hannah. No wonder she felt so alone.
Keep things low-key: A couple of the characters mention that Hannah was always highly strung, and yet still put her in high-pressure situations instead of inviting her to, oh I don’t know, the park? People still do that right? Poor Zach tried to help, but ended up leaning over Hannah and bombarding her with questions. No wonder she shouted at him to back off.
Smile at strangers: It seems so simple, yet throughout the show Hannah is met with the miserable and oblivious faces of her peers. A smile will surprise and delight strangers, you could make someone’s day. Go on, try it.
Listen to people’s problems: Another simple one yet none of the characters appeared to know how. They ask questions, they provide advice but rarely does anyone sit and let Hannah offload her worries. No matter how inconsequential the problem may seem to you, it could be affecting their entire approach to life.
There is always a choice: It is so easy to feel you have no options left like Justin who protected Bryce because he owed him, or Courtney who didn’t wanted anyone to know her sexuality so claimed Hannah was a lesbian instead. Always keep an open mind and look for other ways out of a difficult situation.
Don’t be afraid to reach out: So what if you haven’t spoken to one of your classmates in years? That just means you have a lot to catch up on. One friendly conversation may turn a person’s life around.
Give hugs: Ok, perhaps it would be odd to walk up to a stranger and give them a hug, but in 13 Reasons Why, Hannah’s only physical contact appears to be sexual abuse. That is enough to mess with anyone’s head.
Take care of the mental health of yourself (and others): It’s slowly becoming more commonly discussed but mental health is still a rare topic and a difficult one to understand. Everyone’s thought process is different and the teenage experience can cause anyone to turn inwards instead of asking for help. Be aware of how other people can affect you and how you can affect others.
Mental health professionals need help too: It must be one of the most difficult jobs out there. When you’re in such a delicate role you need to know how to respond and more importantly, how to listen. Hannah’s guidance councillor, Mr Porter, doesn’t listen. he accuses Hannah of flirting with her rapist, and he lets Hannah leave his office while still upset. This lack of training only makes Hannah feel more isolated rather than helping her to open up. Mr Porter is Hannah’s last chance and lets her slip away.
Revenge always makes things worse: This is my problem with Hannah, her tapes appear to be a form of revenge rather than justice. Hannah suggests that the listeners throw rocks at Tyler’s window because he released a photo of her kissing another girl. He is later shown buying guns, which gives me an idea of what may be coming in season 2. And Tyler’s story all started with revenge.
Don’t be a bystander: Clay didn’t bully anyone, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, right? Wrong. Each time a new picture or rumour came out about Hannah, he was there listening or looking at the photos and generally helping to spread the rumours that killed her.
So what do you think of my list? Am I wrong? Or have I missed key messages? Hannah’s story is a tough one and it’s difficult to determine how she might have been saved, if she could have been saved at all.
We at GoodKarms believe every choice you make impacts another person and that the show, 13 Reasons Why, highlights the extreme damage that a thoughtless action can have. Try using GoodKarms to make someone feel good today.