When considered one of my 16-year-old college students recommended I watch 13 Causes Why – the harrowing US teen drama that centres across the suicide of a 16-year-old lady – I agreed as a result of he stated it “confirmed what being an adolescent was really like”.
I used to be curious. Like most dad and mom I believed I understood what being an adolescent was really like, having been one myself. However within the ever-accelerating web age, the place social media concurrently means a larger stage of connectedness and isolation, being an adolescent now shouldn’t be the identical expertise that I had.
The present era of adolescents has a very totally different set of hurdles to barter as they make their approach by college and enter the world of maturity. Understandably, all dad and mom need their youngsters to move by this stage as unscathed as potential. May a TV programme actually assist them assist their offspring as they discover their approach?
The controversial Netflix collection relies upon the suicide of a lady referred to as Hannah Baker who leaves 13 tapes, every for a particular particular person, explaining how every one contributed to her ending her life. The second collection, which began streaming on the finish of Might, paperwork Hannah’s life because the court docket battle between her dad and mom and the varsity, over who was liable for her demise, escalates to attract extra of her contemporaries into the story. A 3rd season has simply been introduced.
Specializing in the day-to-day lives of younger individuals, it’s a deeply dispiriting drama. Whereas the issues explored could seem alien to older viewers, they’re severe and really actual points for youngsters. Having watched the primary collection, I consider it’s crucial that adults search to genuinely perceive what kids face, and use the publicity surrounding 13 Causes Why to start out a much bigger dialog with teenagers in regards to the sorts of issues that have an effect on their psychological well being and common well-being.
The problems highlighted will horrify dad and mom – bullying, isolation, psychological sickness, melancholy, self-harm, substance abuse, intercourse, rape and suicide — however these are points that many younger individuals are experiencing. And a few dad and mom might merely not concentrate on it.
Views on the programme are combined, with some discovering the scenes of suicide and rape gratuitous and overly graphic. However younger individuals I’ve spoken to largely agree that this drama is consultant of life as an adolescent in 2018. The ache felt by characters who’re self-harming, grieving over misplaced pals and combating their id and each determination they make is obvious to see. In the midst of my work, one teen who misplaced a 14-year-old buddy to suicide advised me that, six years on, 13 Causes Why helped clarify all of the issues they’d felt – one thing which they struggled to articulate on the time.
Being conscious of what issues to a teenager is essential if we’re to make sure that struggling youngsters are supported by these troublesome teenage years; if it issues to them, it ought to matter to the remainder of society. Solely youngsters are specialists in how you can be youngsters in 2018, in order that they want adults to hearken to them and take their issues severely. There must be dialogue.
I incessantly come throughout adults who consider that youngsters have too many rights, that rights ought to solely be granted to kids exhibiting accountability. As an alternative of focusing upon unfavourable stereotypes of younger individuals, we have to realise that we can not anticipate mannequin residents at 18 with out assist and involvement. Efficient listening means working with younger individuals to share their issues, not telling them how you can really feel or act – a serious deficit in our schooling system and throughout society.
Psychological well being consciousness
Some have argued that 13 Causes Why supplies triggers for suicidal tendencies, however it does spotlight the rising situation of suicidal teenagers and the pressures they face. Analysis reveals that teen suicides within the UK are rising and the causes are sometimes the identical points explored within the drama.
When you think about that over half of psychological well being issues in grownup life begin by the age of 14, and 75% by the age of 18, society wants to know the difficulties that youngsters and younger individuals are going through. It’s clear that the NHS is struggling to deal with the variety of younger individuals needing psychological well being assist so it is a matter that must be urgently addressed if a psychological well being epidemic amongst teenagers is to be averted.
In 13 Causes Why, college students have a faculty counsellor (within the UK pupils have steering academics) however it isn’t customary apply for individuals who work in faculties to be educated to talk and hear correctly to younger individuals by way of psychological well being. Psychological well being promotion can not simply be left to outdoors businesses. The likes of the NSPCC, The Samaritans and Thoughts are all skilled at serving to kids who want to speak and supply recommendation to these seeking to assist others with psychological sickness. However youngsters want correct entry to this at college.
Hear with out prejudice
We’ve all been adolescents, however as we age we are inclined to overlook the ache of being an adolescent – and the issues we confronted again then recede as life brings new considerations. It’s simple to decrease the rising pains of our teenage years – we develop, we alter and hopefully we mature. However these of us who work with and promote the rights of kids and adolescents have respect for the younger individuals who face myriad each day battles, pressures and emotional hurdles.
Whether or not you’re keen on, hate or are but to see 13 Causes Why, it’s clear the Netlix drama has had an affect, underscoring the significance of dialogue, empathy and guaranteeing kids know that there are individuals and companies they’ll flip to for assist. All of it begins with listening, with out judgement. As one of many characters says: “The minute you begin speaking about it, it will get simpler.” Kids have to realize it’s okay to not be okay.
Tracy Kirk doesn’t work for, seek the advice of, personal shares in or obtain funding from any firm or group that will profit from this text, and has disclosed no related affiliations past their educational appointment.