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Why everyone should watch “13 Reasons Why”

Erin King, Practicum Writer

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As my boyfriend and I sat on the couch contemplating what to watch on Netflix, a task never without an argument, we stumbled across a new Netflix original series.

That series was called “13 Reasons Why.”

Personally, I am not one for starting a new show while in the middle of another, but this series intrigued me. A few weeks prior, I saw a short video clip advertisement of the show posted by Selena Gomez, one of the show’s producers, which displayed the mystery, suspense and drama that surrounds high school.

After I viewed the ad a couple hundred times throughout the week, I realized the show was about a high school suicide. As I thought about the many shows and movies I have watched in the past, I could not think of one single one that highlighted young adult suicide.

Heavy or not, this epidemic is necessary to understand. This is why everyone should watch “13 Reasons Why.”

Although I will spare you the spoilers, “13 Reasons Why” is a glance into a young woman’s suicide and the 13 reasons why she decided to do it. The series follows the main character, Clay Jensen, on his journey to find the story behind his peer and crush’s suicide.

Throughout his journey, Jensen uncovers truths about bullying, sexual assault and harassment as well as stalking happening in his school. Although the series is not meant to be under the horror category, there are plenty of scenes throughout the show that are horrifying.

This is because they are so real.

Every teenager faces the dangers of high school and starting college. Facing bullies and name-calling seems normal, but we all know that one boy or girl who got the brunt of it.

It is scary to think that, according to the American College Health Association, six percent of undergraduates have considered suicide as an option. Nearly half of those individuals did not tell a single soul how they felt.

Suicide rates among young adults ages 15-24 have tripled since the 1950s, and in just the past 50 years, they have increased over 200 percent.

Only 52 percent of students say their emotional health is above average. So, I ask, why are students so unhappy with their lives?

Young college students begin a new path in their lives. Some students cope well with change and stress; others are far from prepared. Preparing students for the difficult transition from high school to college could be the key from preventing the 1,000 suicides that happen on college campuses each year.

We now live in a digital age. This is an age where it is easier to chat with your friends and family, but even easier to be a bully.

According to the American Society for the Positive Care of Children, 16 percent of high school students said they were cyberbullied last year alone. When it comes to LBGTQ students, 55.2 percent of them experienced cyberbullying last year.

Young women are even more at risk for suicide. Instead of physical aggression, women are faced with psychological warfare, most times from other women. Being called a “whore,” “slut” and “nasty” are only a few of the many terms young people use to describe their peers.

Women attempt suicide three times as often as men do.

On the other hand, men are faced with male aggression and gender role confusion. A man who is sensitive is judged, while a woman who is sensitive is nurtured. Men end up committing suicide four times as often as women, many being young men ages 20-24.

Some risk factors to look for in your friends, peers and acquaintances include: prior history of suicidal behavior, family history, friend history, mental health, substance abuse, access to firearms, isolation and antisocial or aggressive behavior.

Some warning signs include: talking about suicide, preoccupation with death, trouble eating or sleeping, drastic changes in behavior, withdrawal from friends or social activities, losing interest in hobbies, work or school, giving away prized possessions and losing interest in personal appearance.

Some things you can do to help those who are struggling are staying in touch, sending care packages, chatting and visiting, being familiar with student health services and, most importantly, being sensitive to the person in need.

In the United States, someone attempts suicide every minute, completing a suicide once every 17 minutes. Twelve people ages 15-24 will commit suicide today. That’s one about every two hours.

Let’s do something about it. But first, educate yourself.

As the famous TV show host Ellen DeGeneres says, “Be kind to one another.”

Our own counseling center is located on the bottom floor of Commonwealth Hall and can be reached at 610- 436-2301.

Erin King is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies. She can be reached at [email protected]

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The Student News Service of West Chester University
Why everyone should watch “13 Reasons Why”