Yesterday, I identified school counselors who aren’t enough or the right fit as a significant theme in the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. As an NYC therapist who works with teens, the eleventh way I see how the show expands on the conversation about teens and mental health also relates to how some efforts just aren’t enough:
11. Sometimes Words Aren’t Enough
Teens’ brains are rapidly developing and their bodies are ever-changing, which means they might say something they don’t really mean and they might need us to “follow them” or take action. At the end of the show, Hannah wanted Clay and Mr. Porter to go after her, but she didn’t have the words to say, “Don’t leave me. I’m feeling scared and alone and hopeless.” Mr. Porter thought their final meeting was about rape, but, for Hannah, it was about conveying, “Stop me. Help me.” The tough part is we do need the words to go after someone, but if we learn from the show, sometimes we need to push past the words someone is saying to really see them and what they need.