We recently binged the Netflix show 13 Reasons Why. The series is about a teenager committing suicide after suffering demoralising circumstances and the 13 reasons she gives for ending her life is getting a lot of attention.

2017 Estimates by the World Health Organisation show 800 000 people die as a result of suicide every year Also, suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15–29 year olds.

Roughly 5% of the world population (that is, 300 million people) suffer from depression. At its worst, depression leads to suicide. Depression costs the global economy more than $1 trillion annually.

The Netflix show talks to these figures. Although the show is fiction, what Hannah experienced so many of you today do too, and some even more.

The statistics from the WHO are worrisome. Being a leading cause of death among our young people, one would expect this topic to be discussed and supported more. But the reality is, suicide is increasing at an alarming pace and people are not talking about it.

This show has brought it out into the open. Your children, partner or spouse, family or friends, maybe even you, are potentially part of tomorrow’s statistics.

What do you do to change this? Suicide is seen as a solution to problems, an escape. It is not! Talking more openly about suicide educates; understanding that all challenges have solutions encourages. Help is available; you just have to ask for it. Acknowledging what you need and demanding it for your wellness is the greatest form of strength to your personal and career growth on all levels. The strategy: eliminate suicide as an option always.

In the show, Hannah had 13 reasons why she killed herself. Understanding what her reasons were can give you insight to what yours or your friends’ or families’ might be. Some reasons have been around for ages with others very new to our times. A lot of what is happening in the world today you cannot change, but how you embrace these changes determines your reaction and the impact it will have on your life and or career.

If depression, which could lead to suicide, is caused by some of today’s newer realities, what are you doing about these realities? For example, social media played a huge role in Hannah’s death. The Royal Society for Public Health found that Instagram is the top social media platform causing depression, anxiety and loneliness among youth.

What makes you and the world not eliminate these harmful and potentially lethal things from your life? We’re all different but if you seek your best interests at all times you’ll know what you need to change to be the best you in this new, ever-changing journey.


What is your personal plan to decrease the estimated 2020 statistics? What are you doing to ensure you or your loved ones aren’t part of the statistics?

The countless reasons need to be reflected on. What about putting time down to reflect on your day, week or month? With your newfound insight, commit to finding a solution.

Suicide takes no prisoners. It takes your life. Safeguard yourself and use whatever resources available – medication, natural potions, or be more mindful or practise specific therapies, to do so. Respect and honour yourself. Your life and world depend on it!

Author: Stanford Payne CA(SA) is an ICF-accredited executive and business coach