Selena Gomez has revealed that her new Netflix project is definitely a personal one.
The 24-year-old actor is the executive producer of 13 Reasons Why, which is based on Jay Asher’s bestselling novel about a teenager who commits suicide – but not before recording 13 tapes explaining the individual role that her classmates each played in her death.
The show, which is due to air on Netflix later this year, will deal with difficult topics such as self-harm, depression, bullying, and emotional abuse. And now, in a new interview, Selena Gomez has said that she was also battling tough times behind-the-scenes of the show.
Read more: The 20 best feminist shows to watch in 2017
“I was actually going through a really difficult time when they started production,” she told reporters at a Netflix press event. Referencing her own stint in rehab, she continued: “I went away for 90 days, and I actually met tons of kids in this place that we’re talking about a lot of the issues that these characters are experiencing.”
Gomez, as fans will know, took time out from her career last year in a bid to focus on her health and happiness. In a statement at the time, she mentioned panic attacks, anxiety, depression — all of which can be side effects of Lupus, which Gomez revealed she was diagnosed with in 2014.
Since then, Gomez has slowly made returned to the spotlight in her own time – although she continues to remain silent on social media.
“It’s hard right now,” she said. “I can’t stand social media. I can’t stand what they’re looking at. I can’t stand what they think is reality, and this show is as real as it can possibly get.”
Gomez went on to address her own teenage years, and admitted that her “high school experience was amplified”.
She explained “Whether it was just kids or growing up in the biggest high school in the world, which was Disney Channel, it was also adults that had the audacity to kind of tell me how I should live my life.
“It was very confusing for me. I had no idea who I was going to be, what I’m still going to become.”
13 Reasons Why begins as teenage schoolboy Clay (Minnette) discovers a mysterious box on his porch. Inside he discovers a group of cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker (Langford) - his classmate and crush- who tragically committed suicide just two weeks earlier.
On the tapes, which are mailed with instructions to pass along from one student to another, Hannah explains to twelve peers how they each played a role in her death, by giving thirteen reasons explaining why she took her life.
It’s an unflinching look at the harsh realities of modern high school – and it’s one which Gomez believes young people need to see.
“They have to see something that's going to scare them,” she said. “They need to see something that's frightening.
“I want them to understand it. I would do anything to be able to have a good influence on this generation, but I definitely relate to everything that was going on. I was there for the last episode, and I was a mess just seeing it all come to life, because I've experienced that.”
Gomez teased the series in a short video in January, showing a handful of the show’s characters in a high school hallway.
“I’m about to tell you the story of my life,” says a narrator, “more specifically, why my life ended.”
Mental health is an issue that affects many of us, but women in particular can be vulnerable to issues: the most recent figures from the NHS show that one in five women in the UK have reported a mental illness in recent years, compared to one in eight men.
While the symptoms of depression can be complex and vary widely between different people, doctors have said that the most common is that “you feel sad, hopeless, and lose interest in things you used to enjoy”.
Other symptoms include:
- Low self-esteem
- Feeling tearful
- Feeling irritable
- Finding it difficult to make decisions
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Low sex drive
- Disturbed sleep patterns
- Difficulties with concentration
There are many other symptoms of depression and you’re unlikely to experience all of them at once.
Mental health experts advise that you visit your GP if you experience symptoms of depression for most of the day, every day, for more than two weeks.
You can find out more information – including a series of approved self-care tips – on the Mind website.
13 Reasons Why is set to premiere 31 March on Netflix.