If you've not heard of the new show on Netflix, 13 Reasons Why, you need to watch it.

It's a series about a girl called Hannah Baker, who commits suicide. She leaves behind a set of tapes detailing the 13 reasons why she decided to kill herself. The series focuses on her friend, Clay Jensen, as he goes through the tapes one by one learning what really happened to Hannah.

It's a really poignant and moving series; I watched it all in about 3 days, and I had to take breaks throughout just to get a breather from the story. It is quite intense. But then again, mental illnesses can be intense and difficult and hard to get through.

The main thing I think about the series is how important it is that it has been made, and how important it is to watch. It is very rare to have a series that is centered completely around mental illness, without portraying it as something 'scary' or 'negative' or 'dangerous'. It's great that the series now exists, and I think this shows the shift in perspectives around mental health in general. It's about time that someone focused purely on mental health and went into detail about it, showing the world really what it's like and how easy it is to forget that someone might be going through something unknown.

I liked that it showed all the different perspectives surrounding suicide - from the people who think it's for attention, to those who are angry and frustrated, and to those who are simply devastated. Even if you're someone who thinks suicide is selfish and wrong, I think the series will be able to help people to understand how difficult things can be and how hard life can be for someone to think about taking their own life. It does not support suicide, but it shows a completely different side to it that I don't think any show has shown before.

I can't say I 'enjoyed' watching it, but I couldn't not watch. As someone who has self-harmed and had suicidal tendencies in the past, and come through that too, I wanted to see what the show had to say, and how everything was portrayed. I think it's brilliant, to be honest. It's real; it shows how quickly lots of little things do build up and how, together, they can have such a huge impact on a person's life. It demonstrates how easy it is to pass these by as an outsider; how easy it is to assume that everything is fine, just because someone isn't showing it or talking about it. And that's exactly what it's like with mental health, in my experience: you keep things to yourself. In my case, I did because I didn't know how to make someone understand what I was going through without sounding ridiculous - I didn't want to hear the standard 'get over it' 'it'll get better' or 'that's life, I'm afraid' phrases that a lot of people throw around. I didn't want to be a burden, nor for anyone to see me differently, or even judge me.

Having said all this, it really can be triggering. I found the final episode to be the hardest to watch, as that is the one where everything comes to an end, and the story catches up with the present day. It shows graphic depictions of suicide, and I won't lie, that is hard to watch. Not because it's scary or gross or whatever, but I found it hard because I saw myself when I watched it, and honestly, I cried buckets and buckets and felt so bloody happy and grateful that I didn't give up on myself, but that's a personal thing. It's not an easy watch by any means, but I think it's important to get that other level of understanding that the media often overlooks. I am no mental health professional, but my personal feeling is that if you are struggling at the moment and are watching it/want to watch it - take regular breaks and don't rush. I found it helped to watch a couple of episodes and then go do something else completely unrelated.

The acting is amazing; Katherine Langford, who plays Hannah, frankly deserves some sort of award. I can't imagine how hard it must have been to portray her character, but I think she did it really well and she was real and upfront about the experience. Dylan Minnette plays Clay, who is fantastic and gets it completely right. I also thought Kate Walsh and Brian D'Arcy James, who play Hannah's parents, were excellent.

All I can is: watch it, take your time, and remember the message.

M x