We’re nearing the end of my list of the 13 ways the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why expands the conversation about teens and mental health. As a therapist who works with teens, I see the twelfth as an especially essential one:
12. How To Be Close With Pain
The adults in the show don’t seem to know how to get close to pain–their own or their kids’. Everything seems so internalized. However, the show portrays how to be close with pain through the relationship between Clay and Tony, who controls the listening of the tapes. Clay deals with his own internal process of pain while listening and basically falls apart. But, Tony sees this and helps Clay, guiding him through listening to his own tape. Tony is, in a sense, an escort through the pain, letting both Clay and us, as viewers, know it will be okay. It’s a perfect illustration of how to be with someone’s pain.