As several viewers of the show 13 Reasons Why know, Hannah Baker's best friend from home was named Kat. However, once Hannah Baker moved, despite occasional FaceTime calls, Kat played much more of a distant role in Hannah Baker's life. As several can attest to, moving away from your hometown, away from your childhood best friend is no easy task. In this blog post, I would love to hear your thoughts and uncover the opinion of how Hannah's life circumstances and act of suicide would have potentially been different if Kat had been present in her daily life while attending Liberty High School, after moving. First off, do you believe that Hannah ever opened up to Kat about her internal struggles? The show does not depict this, if it were true. More importantly, how do you believe Hannah's overall outlook and disposition on life would have changed, had Kat attended her new school with her, and had played an active role in her everyday life?
In my opinion, a large component of Hannah Baker's perceived loneliness stems from her lack of a proper support system or trustworthy network. At a new school, it is exceedingly difficult to make new friends, and confide in these individuals. I truly believe that had Kat been in Hannah Baker's direct, everyday life, Hannah could have used her as a sounding board after being raped by Bryce Walker. I believe that Hannah would have felt a safe space in Kat's presence to process this traumatic event, and feel the love of her best friend present. Kat's support could have shown Hannah that she is worthy of living a life full of happiness, and that her traumatic experience does not define her or her current identity.. Additionally, I feel that Kat could have helped Hannah get the appropriate support she needed, beyond the support of the guidance counselor, Mr. Porter. As previously mentioned, Mr. Porter's actions were far too passive, and did not serve Hannah after being raped. After a scary experience, it is vital that an individual is showered with familiarity, trust, and love; all aspects found in Kat, and lacking in Hannah's direct life in her new environment.
Do you believe that if Kat was placed in the story attending Hannah's new school with her, that this would dramatically transform the negative perception of the television show among adolescents? For instance, do you believe this addition/transformation would show adolescent viewers a positive representation of the power of having a best friend, when tackling mental health issues? If Kat's presence in her everyday life prevented Hannah's suicide, and this was shown through the television series, how much more of a positive impact would the series have on its viewers? How would this translate to the real world? I believe that portraying this message in the series would see more individual who are struggling gradually opening up to the receive the proper support needed, rather than feeling as if they have no one, and no support. I would love to see this transformation be made in future shows regarding mental health and potential suicidal actions.
Finally, this touches on the vital responsibility and role an individual has while being someone's best friend. As a best friend, if one confides in you, you are expected to keep this promise, and serve as a strong backbone for an individual who is struggling. Part of this role includes not trivializing the struggles of a friend, and giving them all the necessary support and love to move past this stage in their lives. If the show were to insert Kat into the daily life of Hannah, the show must use Kat's role and actions responsibility, giving an accurate and true representation of what is expected of an individual in a supporting role. I find this topic very interesting, and would love to hear your thoughts.