Responding to 13 Reasons Why

Suicide has taken too many of our young people’s lives for us not take this conversation seriously.


I recently binge watched the new Netflix series 13 Reasons Why — All 13 episodes in 24 hours. To summarize, it is a series about a young woman who dies by suicide and leaves 13 cassette tapes behind t o share insights with 13 people who were the “reasons why”.

I was captivated. And horrified. And confused. And sad. And relieved.

Captivated because it is a very well put together piece of entertainment, lots of cliff hangers, popular culture references and inclusion of topics that are close to home for me (addiction, relationships, hope). I was horrified because I can understand why some educators and parents are claiming this show glorifies suicide; because there are moments where it does feel like an instructive “how-to-get-revenge-on-whole-groups-while-your-suffering-stops”. I was confused because I continued to watch despite my horror. I was sad because I know this is the reality for so many of our young people, they entertain these thoughts of self harming, they grieve and yearn for their relatives and friends that they have lost to suicide, with so many questions unanswered. But I was also relieved. For the first time in a popular Netflix series, topics such as meth use, drunk driving, the damaging effects of social media, the long term effects of bullying and the impact we can have on others when we are careless or cruel with our words.

And speaking as someone who has had to lose a lot and as a kid, had those thoughts myself, I want to end this post with 13 reasons why I am still here today ❤

  1. Libraries
  2. “The Assertive Club”
  3. Stevie Wonder
  4. ANIMORPHS: the series
  5. My high school friends “208”
  6. Journals & Writing
  7. Volunteer commitments to help other kids/young people
  8. My Army Cadet family in Winnipeg & Vernon, BC
  9. The young people in the North End who give me hope
  10. My beautiful Redhead family and Shamattawa, MB
  11. Me
  12. Ms Holmes
  13. The Champagnes

This series made me think. I don’t know that it is appropriate for teenagers to be watching this without having an adult or a supporter near by to sit with. I also know that people sometimes have to talk to someone outside of their immediate circle, so places like Kids Help Phone (click here for website) 1-800-668-6868 can help us or the Manitoba Suicide Line (click here for website) 1-877-435-7170. And if you are thinking about watching this show, please make sure you take care of yourself while you do so, with time for you to reflect, express your emotions, be in the presence of safe people and get enough rest. This conversation on suicide needs to happen, but it must happen in a safe and supportive environment.

What are the reasons why YOU are still here?


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