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Blog EntryBlog: Thursday, April 27, 2017

"13 Reasons Why" Netflix Television Series

Recently, Netflix launched a new series: “13 Reasons Why.” The story revolves around the topic of teen suicide and involves a teen who kills herself and leaves behind a series of audio recordings for people she blames in some way. The series contains many graphic scenes.
I think we can agree that the topic is relevant and worth discussing with your child/family, however, I want to alert you that some experts believe the series glorifies teen suicide and depicts it in a way in which a viewer may feel that suicide is the only way out of a challenging or difficult situation.
My office has received notice from the New Jersey Youth Suicide Prevention Advisory Council and the National Association of School Psychologists regarding this television series that has been shared among our administrative team and support staff.  I also recommend these additional mental health resources: The Glen Rock Borough has recently joined the Stigma Free initiative whereby caring and concerned community members work together to raise awareness of mental health and illness. The Stigma Free initiative aims to create a caring culture where those who suffer from mental illness are supported and seek treatment without fear of stigma.

Guidance for Families

  1. Ask your child if they have heard or seen the series 13 Reasons Why. While we don’t recommend that they be encouraged to view the series, do tell them you want to watch it, with them or to catch up, and discuss their thoughts.
  2. If they exhibit any of the warning signs above, don’t be afraid to ask if they have thought about suicide or if someone is hurting them. Raising the issue of suicide does not increase the risk or plant the idea. On the contrary, it creates the opportunity to offer help.
  3. Ask your child if they think any of their friends or classmates exhibit warning signs. Talk with them about how to seek help for their friend or classmate. Guide them on how to respond when they see or hear any of the warning signs.
  4. Listen to your children’s comments without judgment. Doing so requires that you fully concentrate, understand, respond, and then remember what is being said. Put your own agenda aside.
  5. Get help from a school-employed or community-based mental health professional if you are concerned for your child’s safety or the safety of one of their peers.

Posted by Dr. Paula Valenti at 11:34 AM
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