’13 Reasons Why’ star thinks show should be mandatory school viewing
Kate Walsh and Katherine Langford on ’13 Reasons Why.’
Whether in praise or detraction, 13 Reasons Why is starting conversations right and left. The show about a teen who dies by suicide and her peers coping in the aftermath is prompting discussions about depression, mental health, assault, and bullying, and star Kate Walsh believes it should be required viewing in schools.
Walsh, who plays the grieving mother of Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford) in the series, told The Huffington Post that the show runners tried to strip Hannah’s death of any romanticism or glamour, to deliberately depict these difficult topics in their true light.
“People have been reacting differently to showing Hannah in the act of suicide and all the other sexual assault scenes, rape scenes. But [show runner Brian Yorkey] was intent on making sure there was nothing romantic or mysterious that anybody could project on to this to make it some dreamy, goth-y…some romantic Ophelia moment,” she said.
Walsh said that the show tries to "really deal with depression and mental illness…and show what it really looks like if someone tries to take their life."
"It’s ugly and it’s really hard and it should be seen," she said. "I feel like it should be mandatory in schools that parents and teachers and students watch this and have conversations about sexual assault, about bullying, about LGBTQ issues, about race issues, gender issues, and suicide and depression and mental health."
Walsh believes that open discussion about these topics will help young people recognize and deal with abuse and mental health issues, and relieve the "shroud of shame or silence" over these topics.
“Unfortunately, a lot of kids’ lives were lost before schools started having conversations and awareness, and communities started having dialogue about it. As long as anything is shrouded in shame or secrecy, nothing good can come from it.”
13 Reasons Why is now streaming on Netflix.
If you want to talk to someone or are experiencing suicidal thoughts, text the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Here is a list of international resources.