As a Teen Services librarian and avid television viewer, it’s been impossible to ignore the buzz about and criticism of the recent Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. If you are a teen (or parent of a teen), you may be over-saturated, too. Maybe you’ve read the book it’s based on by Jay Asher, watched the series, heard about it from friends, read twitter threads, blog posts, opinion columns, and received a letter from school. It’s being talked about probably more than it deserves. Whether its depictions of bullying, rape culture and suicide alarm you or inspire you to change your own behavior, one opinion that most can agree with is that it is a good conversation starter. What it’s not good at is discussing mental health and de-stigmatizing mental illness. Depression is never mentioned over the course of 13 episodes. Update: The recent real-life suicide of singer Chris Cornell is a reminder that people of all ages struggle with depression, no matter how much success they achieve in life and no matter how loved they may be.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, so here are 13 resources that discuss tough topics like depression and suicide, educate people about mental health and illness, and even save lives.
- National Alliance of Mental Illness NAMI is a nationwide grassroots mental health organization. Helpline: 1-800-950-6264
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals. Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
- The Trevor Project is a national organization determined to end suicide among LGBTQ youth. 24/7 Help: 1-866-488-7386
- RAINN is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. Sexual assault is a major theme in both the book and TV adaptation. Get Help: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
- National Eating Disorders Association Did you know that eating disorders are mental illnesses? Helpline: 1-800-931-2237
- MaineStay Youth & Family Services Offers affordable counseling to everyone who lives or attends school within Maine Township. Call to set up an appointment: 1-847-297-2510 x261
- Check out this video on Teen Suicide Prevention created by the Mayo Clinic:
- NIDA The National Institute on Drug Abuse provides information on what to do if you or someone you know has a problem with drugs. Need Help NOW? 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
- Erika’s Lighthouse This Chicago-area nonprofit organization educates teens, parents, and schools. They’ve created a toolkit specifically to address issues raised by 13 Reasons Why.
- iFred.org The goal of International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression (iFred) is to ensure that 100% of the 350 million people affected by depression seek and receive treatment.
- ReachOut.com This nonprofit delivers peer support and mental health information in a safe, supportive online space. HELP NOW: 1-800-448-3000
- To Write Love On Her Arms This movement is dedicated to presenting hope and help for people who struggl with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. Here’s their blog post in response to 13 Reasons Why.
- What’s Your Grief? The characters in 13 Reasons Why struggle with grief in the aftermath of Hannah’s suicide. Mental health professionals who dealt with the loss of loved ones started this site to promote grief education, exploration, and expression.
For more resources, including great fiction and nonfiction books that explore mental health, visit the library. Librarians are not therapists, but we help people access these resources without judgment and with respect for privacy.