When I first started seeing Facebook posts with #WelcomeToYourTape written on it, I wasn't that interested. That was until I learned the meaning of the hashtag. When I found out there was a new popular Netflix show centred on teen suicide and mental health issues, I felt obliged to watch it.
And that I did, in about 3 days. Once I started the first episode, the story gripped me, and I couldn't stop. For anybody who hasn't seen it, the show follows Clay, a high schooler whose classmate, Hannah, takes her own life. She leaves behind thirteen tapes, each of which explains the wrongdoings of fellow classmates that led to her suicide. When I first watched it, I found it a bit sinister that she would leave a tape to each person, basically saying 'this is why you made me kill myself', but the more I watched the more I realised this wasn't her intention at all. Well, at least not in my opinion, but it is open to interpretation.
A lot of things happened to Hannah Baker to lead her to such drastic measures. She was bullied, she was objectified, she witnessed her friend's sexual assault, she was sexually assaulted, and she felt nobody was listening to her cries for help. I believe the main purpose of her tapes wasn't to burden her friends, but to show them how little things can build up and easily spiral out of control. You don't realise the impact a photo or a list can have on someone's life, so always be kind. You don't know what silent battles people are fighting.
The show had a lot of controversy surrounding the explicit scenes. People scorned the show for 'romanticizing' suicide. I think it did the complete opposite. It showed just how dark depression can be, and just how ugly suicide is. It shows the aftermath, the parents left totally bereft, not understanding what could have made their beautiful daughter want to leave this world. It shows how suicide doesn't solve anything, it just passes the pain on to everybody around you.
It shows that it should never be an option.
As wonderful as the show was for raising awareness for teenage suicide and mental health, I wouldn't recommend it to anybody feeling vulnerable. I found some scenes difficult to watch, and they could impact people struggling in the wrong way.
If you have been affected by the show, you can get support here. If you are from outside the UK you can find your local support here: