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Let's Talk

Author // Roy Saad

Mental Health Week

Does it seem like everyone and their grandmother is talking about Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why”? Well according to some research from Fizziology (a social media research company) they are. The show had over 3.5 million impression in the first week of the release. This was the biggest social presence for a Netflix show or movie. I know, I was just as surprised.

This week is Mental Health Week and I thought it’s a natural time to talk about this show. Having binged watched the show (Does it still count as binge watching if it still took me almost three weeks?) I can see some of the concerns parents and many organizations have about the content and the ways in which suicide and its impact is portrayed. Yes there were missed opportunities to drive home a different message and it might seem like it romanticizes suicide, however we must remember that this is the entertainment industry. It makes for interesting and captivating television. That’s not to say that they should get a “free pass” but when did we as a society start relying on this industry to deliver the perfect message about anything? The show had very raw and disturbing scenes that made me uncomfortable at times. Suicide is a serious topic and one that has been taboo in many cultures including my own. This show has created a spotlight on the issue, it’s up to all of us to use the momentum moving forward.

The onus continues to be on the community, that’s parents, teachers, friends, neighbours, and that nice person down the street with that dog, who I’m terrified of. It’s up to us to promote a dialogue and talk about these challenges in an open and supportive setting.

We often forget, that for youth what is seemingly inconsequential to us, is literally the end of the world for them. There are a various supports available in the community, whether it’s Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868), Spectra Helpline (1-877-289-5444) or Ontario’s Online and Text Crisis and Distress Service.

Mental Health affects us all and if shows like Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why?” has proven anything, it is that we all need to continue having this dialogue. We need to continue providing safe spaces and opportunities for youth to experience their feelings, thoughts, emotions etc.

Lives are depending on it.

About the Author

Roy Saad

Roy Saad

 Roy Saad is the Director, Stakeholder Relations and Public Affairs at United Way of Peel Region.


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