Walla Walla mother and daughter share their experience with suicide on the 13 Reasons Why set
WALLA WALLA, Wash. — Suzanne Timms and her 17 year old daughter Alexia Ziegler are using their experience with suicide to spread awareness to millions of Netflix viewers through the popular show 13 Reason Why.
The show follows a group of classmates dealing with the pain and guilt of teen Hannah Baker’s suicide.
A Fizziology report said season 1 of the series created 3.5 million social volume impressions in the first week of its release, giving it the biggest social presence out of any of their original series and films.
Timm’s son Isaiah Ziegler took his own life at age 17 in September of 2013.
The mother and daughter duo have been working to spread awareness in local schools, churches and youth groups ever since. They believe sharing their story will help start a much-needed conversation.
“Once the person dies and they’re buried, it doesn’t just go away. The person who’s suffering, that’s what they want to believe… that they are not needed in this world and that they’re a burden,” said Timms.
“I’m not gonna let that happen to my child, it’s not just going to go away quietly. I want people to know that the pain is still there. I want them to know that every day we have to deal with this and I hope that’s what season 2 shows, that the aftermath of suicide hurts so many people,” she said.
The producers of the Netflix series saw Timm’ story on KAPP/KVEW in May. They invited her and her daughter to tour the set of season 2, give their input and tell their story to the cast.
“It’s amazing to see that what we’ve been doing is finally having the bigger impact that we’ve been reaching out for and trying to get,” said Ziegler.
The women were able to hear from cast and crew members about why they decided to join the show.
“They were all there for the best reasons they could be, because they believe in it and they believe in suicide prevention so it was actually really cool to see how much actual heart went into it,” said Ziegler.
Timms spoke with Kate Walsh, the actress who plays the mother of a teen who commit suicide. She tried to help Walsh understand what it feels like to lose a child to suicide.
“It’s impossible for her to get a complete picture of what it’s like to live my life but what I want people to see it is the change. I’m not the same parent that I was before Isaiah’s death and it’s impossible to ever be that person,” said Timms.
The show shows the painful aftermath of suicide. Timms believes if her son saw the aftermath, he might’ve made a different choice. She said she refuses to let her son’s story disappear.
“I’m not gonna let that happen to my child it’s not just going to go away quietly I want people to know that the pain is still there I want them to know that every day we have to deal with this and I hope that’s what season two shows that the aftermath of suicide, it hurts so many people. It’s not just the parents.”
Timms will be featured in a behind the scenes look at season 2 on Netflix.