We are not ready for an intense musical like “Heathers”, and we need to be. In today’s society people are emotional, and the way entertainment portrays the idea of mental illness is less than ideal.
As early as 1989, the entertainment industry has shown mental illness as a pretty picture, something that is “ok”, they’ve shown depression as sadness when in reality there is no relation to the two. In shows, movies, books have caused a spike towards suicide rates. When will this industry learn that these graphic themes are painful for those who are still struggling in this battle?
13 reasons why:
This is a show that graphically talks about mental illness, self harm, suicide, rape, sexual assault, and severe bullying. The whole picture is showing everyone that people who attempt should be the ones to blame, so when your watching this show it hits you hard, because it is very accurate, they don’t sugar coat anything, but is that better? No, not for the people that are struggling. You see these issues that you are struggling with visually portrayed and in all reality it hits you. You are raw with emotion, now that would normally be ok, but how they, graphically show the pain of self harm and suicide hits too close to home. And on top of that in class people are mocking the idea of suicide and how Hannah Baker did it. This is not something to take lightly, so on top of this graphic show your classmates are now mocking what you are struggling with.
We should automatically know that making fun of mental illness is not ok. And the fact that we don’t is a major issue. Us as students need to be aware what’s going on, because to be completely honest suicide attempts happen everyday at this school. The problem is we are just too blind to see this. How many suicides does it take? When will we open our eyes and take action?
Let me get one thing straight “Heathers” does not mock mental illness it is not too graphic it spreads awareness. Now the problem with “Heathers” is us. We are not ready for this kind of awareness. The whole point of “Heathers” is to promote awareness of mental illness of all kinds. Some people that don’t understand or appreciate the story of “Heathers” get a different message. This is why West Linn is not ready for this story and really, we should be because the movie and the musical showcase real emotion that is being felt during these type of situations, but because so many people with mental illnesses are used to people mocking the way they feel, they almost have a form of PTSD put upon them when they see another form of entertainment that showcases suicide. We have scared our peers senseless, so that now we can’t even appreciate suicide awareness when we see it, because we are so scared it’s gonna trigger us, or because of the aftermath that has been proven in the past. “Heathers” isn’t written like a Shakespeare play but it is true awareness shown in a subtle way to the outside world. But because of earlier experiences we can’t break the tension of the past.
Orange is the new black:
You may be surprised to see this show on this list, it barely has any mental illness awareness, or talk for that matter, but because it’s an ongoing issue the directors just had to stuff it in somewhere. The character Tricia Miller was a drug addict and during the first season overdosed on drugs, now this isn’t a suicide but one of the police officers finds her passed out alone in a cell and decides to make it look like she hung herself. No trigger warning whatsoever, very insensitive to the mental illness audience. There is no noise in this scene she is just hanging there, the only sound is the rope swinging back and forth, which is very unsettling for any audience to watch. Why do we do this to our society, I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again suicide is not something to take lightly.
This show addresses many issues. Including suicide, self harm, and bullying. Now these are still very important topics to address, but again it’s how you address these issues that can make all the difference. And in this show they very forwardly talk about the issues that honestly need to be talked about, but are we ready to harshly talk about it in this way? In one of the episodes the character Esme Song wants to get attention from her boyfriend who is slipping from her grasp. And what better way to do that then to pretend you self harmed right? No, this is not the answer if you want to be seen then you talk to that person like a normal human being, instead of making every single person who self harms look like attention seekers. People who hurt themselves are not attention seekers, they would not try to hide it so well if they were. There are many things that tend to be insensitive in this show when it comes to mental illness, and yes it’s upsetting to see this, but the fact that a majority of us do not take this lightly just proves how not ready we really are.
The show overall glorifies the idea of being mentally ill, it almost makes it seem ok. In the show there are many teenagers who are corrupt. And because of this they show that just because you are not well you should resort to suicide. Suicide should be a last destination thing, hopefully it will never be the destination. But how can we make that standard in society today when shows like this glorify suicide and make it look like a pretty thing, when it’s not. It’s the farthest from it really. In the scene when Effy tries to kill herself, she cuts of course because that’s the most attention seeking out of all the ways, at least to society. When she’s in the hospital, the way they portray her in the hospital bed glorifies her state. They trail down her body with tubes sticking out her, as she sleeps peacefully, and you think as a person with a mental illness maybe it’d be better to just give up, I’ll be peaceful just like Effy. this is the problem, when shows glorify mental illness it sets up your mind to thinking that it’s ok to give up, that it’d be better for everyone if I just sleep. If you think this while watching this show then you are not ready to talk heavily about mental illness.
Schools tend to mainly only focus on the academic portion and skip over the fact that students have mental problems as well, and especially now more and more people are being diagnosed with mental illnesses, too many to count really. The point is that the ones that are actually suffering tend to go with the flow of society and this includes watching shows that your friends may be watching that will talk about mental illness heavily and not in a very healthy manor. This is the problem, as you know. But how do we stop it? Well for starters you can’t change other peoples actions, it’s just the way it is. People are gonna be cruel that’s how this world sadly works. We have to change, we have to learn how to manage ourselves in this type of situation. If you look on the back of your student ID card you will see these student hotlines.
Clackamas county crisis number: 503-655-8585
Lines for life: text teen2teen to 839863
Email: [email protected] Call/text: 844-472-3367
These hotlines are to talk to somebody if reality is just too hard to handle. So once we get out of the mindset that others need to change for life to simmer down, and get attached to the idea that only we can change and once one person stands up others will follow, you just gotta be brave enough to stand out.