1.) How did you hear about the show?
I was browsing Netflix and it was on the “Spotlight” feature. I watched part of the trailer and read the little blurb that it has and added it to my list.
2.) If you’re willing to share, do you personally suffer from a mental illness or have a family member/friend that suffers from one? If yes, feel free to elaborate.
I myself suffer from anxiety and depression fairly badly, and have multiple friends who do as well. My late grandma also struggled with depression so mental health problems are familiar to me.
3.) Were you aware of the subject matter before going into the show? If yes, were you hesitant at all?
I was to an extent. I wasn’t aware of how blunt it got. I was more hesitant if there was going to be talk of body image issues as that is more triggering to me than discussions and depictions of mental illness.
4.) What about the series did you like?
I liked that its existence and popularity has generated a lot of discussions. I’m not sure about the reception in the states, but in New Zealand there has been A LOT of articles run through the national news sites discussing the show, the issues within it and about how it should be rated.
5.) What about the series didn’t you like or felt was difficult to watch?
Oh so many things. I found the characters to be unlikable to the point of not even relateble. I thought the whole thirteen reasons thing to be so vindictive. Also the generation of discussion of how you should be kind to people; if you learned that through a goddamn Netflix show then you need to take a look at yourself.
I also became so frustrated with the lack of support for Hannah prior to her suicide that I didn’t finish it, and I know that it only gets worse when she seeks help from the counselor who turns her away. What kind of message does that send to people like Hannah? Finally asking for help will fall on deaf ears until you’re dead? I am also aware of the rape and suicide scenes later in the show and I know myself well enough to know that I would not be able to watch that.
All that aside, can we please start casting actual teens in these roles? The whole tragedy about this is that these are KIDS. I find it difficult to buy it when these kids look older than I do.
6.) Do you think they reflected the material accurately?
Yes and no. I’ve already talked about how the lack of support Hannah receives to be frustrating and lacking when I know that better support exists, but I was unlucky in my high school experience and also got a shitty counselor who was no help.
7.) Do you feel like anything was missing or could have been added to the series?
I bailed around episode 5 so I’m not sure if they did do a better job of showing that there are other ways and places to go to ask for help (even with some kind of disclaimer), but I don’t remember that existing whilst I was watching so I think that needs to exist.
8.) How did you feel after finishing the series?
I didn’t finish it and currently don’t have plans to. Maybe later down the line I might, but certainly not for a good while.
9.) Do you feel like mental health and sexual assault education should be just as important as other aspects of health/sex education?
YES! The only health education I really got was physical health and sex education that covered how to put on a condom and preached abstinence through showing us gross images of STD’s. Consent education needs to exist, better discussions around mental health needs to exist because it took until a week before I turned 21 for me to get real help when, in hindsight, I’ve had a problems with mental health since as long as I can remember.
10.) What would you tell someone suffering from a mental illness if they were considering watching the show?
Probably not to honestly. I have a friend who is dealing with pretty severe depression and upon discussing the show, she thinks that watching it would only make it worse. It depends on the person and how managed their mental health is, but for the most part I would say no. If they’re desperate to watch, I’d tell them there are some episodes to be wary about if they’re already in a bad space.
Be sure to catch the last interview on Friday.
You can read the previous articles in the links below: