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13 Reasons Why with Katie Manning

May is Mental Health Awareness month.

Throughout their lifetime, 1 in 5 adults in the United States will experience one mental illness. Each year the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) fights stigmas, provides support, educates the public, and advocates for equal care. If you are reading this article, so should you.

13 Reasons Why. Does this ring a bell? It’s the new hit original series on Netflix, based off of the novel Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. It is about a student named Hannah Baker who takes her own life, leaving a select group of people tape recordings of the reasons why she committed suicide to listen to. While listening to Hannah’s story, it is evident that she had went through demoralizing events, causing her to suffer.

I talked with Katie Manning, an advertising major, about 13 Reasons Why, and the advertising world and here is what she had to say:

HC: What are your overall thoughts of this particular show?

KM: The thing that I most relate to in Hannah’s story is the theme of how little things add up to a bigger inner struggle. Watching her story unfold while she lost friends was heartbreakingly relatable. After winter break, I didn’t want to be at school, my roommate wasn’t the best, my so-called friends had no idea what it even meant to be a friend, and I felt hopelessly alone. Everything kept piling up creating anxiety, and emotions arose (but the ones some only deal with in high school). Unlike the show, I am so lucky to have the strong support system of my family and a very select few amazing friends.

HC: Why do you promote the advertisement of the show?

KM: As I was watching the only thing I kept thinking about was how much I hated it. I hated how relatable the characters were. I hated how real it felt. I hated the painful memories, of people I left in my past that the show brought back to me. I think the show is incredible from the acting and direction. It’s a show I’ll never watch again and reading reviews of people saying how much they love the show is odd. The word “love” is not the way to describe a show about a teen girl that commits suicide. The show was created to start a conversation. Suicide isn’t a casual conversation you hear women discussing over brunch. It is a serious issue that makes a lot of people uncomfortable. The show brought to the screen vivid portrayals of depression, rape, and suicide (Trigger warnings are given for those specific episodes with the graphic content). Topics displayed in the show have been all over the news and yet we still don’t want to talk about them. The show doesn’t glorify or dramatize depression and/or suicide. The show gives you a glimpse into a narrative that feels and is real.

HC: What do you want people to take away from 13 Reasons Why?

KM: People should refrain from saying “I’m fine” or “I’m okay”, when they’re really feeling the exact opposite. Being strong is a positive but sometimes crying, screaming, and eating a gallon of ice cream (the method I prefer) is necessary. I think mental health needs to be more of a conversation. I understand the sensitive nature of the show, so it may not be talked about in schools, but it is important for our generation to watch the show and be open minded and begin constructive conversations about the topic.

HC: Why choose advertising as a major, what do you love about it?

KM: I wanted to pick a career where I wouldn’t end up in the same place, doing the same job for the rest of my life or until I can retire. Advertising is essentially fun, and a bit weird. Someone was actually paid to make a skittles commercial of singing rabbit. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HgRDzdPZ8o I also love being able to work and collaborate with a multitude of different talents to bring one idea that started on paper to life!

HC: What do you think your role in the advertisement industry is?

KM: Advertisers hold a lot of power, and people on average see about 250 ads per day. Some Americans might not know all the words to the national anthem but know the State Farm jingle. I think advertisers hold more influence in our lives then we care to admit. For example going to buy paper towels, are you going to pick Brawny or Bounty? Bounty, because the commercial told you it is quick and you don’t want to waste time cleaning up a mess. Advertising chooses what you wear, buy, and think about a product or brand. I remember looking at fashion magazines and seeing the gorgeous thin women. I know about the photoshop, working out, and not eating habits. But it’s people behind the empowering Dove campaign about true women and real beauty that are changing the conversation and the way we perceive ads and especially retouching photos in ads. That is having the power to change the narrative, and that is the advertising I want to be apart of.

Here are mental health stigma effects:

  • People experiencing mental health conditions often face rejection, bullying and discrimination. This can make their journey to recovery longer and more difficult.

  • Mental health conditions are the leading cause of disability across the United States.

  • Even though most people can be successfully treated, less than half of the adults in the U.S. who need services and treatment get the help they need.

  • The average delay between the onset of symptoms and intervention is 8-10 years.

  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death of youth ages 15-24 and the tenth leading cause of death for all Americans.


Defying others, ignoring negative criticism, coming to SCAD, traveling the world, and believing in herself are Katie’s biggest but most important achievements so far in her lifetime. For some people, they may not reach to similar point, they may not see tomorrow in hope for a better future.

Start the conversation, LEARN THE FACTS, advocate, and also if you haven’t already, watch 13 Reasons Why.

Have a laugh and check out Katie’s amazing work here: https://www.instagram.com/katie_scad_ad/ http://www.katiemanning.net


Images in order by:

Cover- Katie M

Volkan Olmez https://unsplash.com/@volkanolmez?photo=wESKMSgZJDo 

Katie M

Nicole Mason https://unsplash.com/collections/391662/mental-health?photo=7BQVdq17rbs 

Tajiya is pursuing her B.F.A. in Fashion Design at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). Although she has a "passion for fashion" she has other interests that she finds of importance and loves to write about them.
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