The MSD of Lawrence Township wishes to communicate with families about a relatively new series on Netflix called “13 Reasons Why,” which is quickly gaining popularity among students. The story centers around a teenager who leaves behind audio recordings for 13 people she believes played a role in her decision to take her own life. This fictional story is based on a widely known novel, and while meant to be a cautionary tale, it has raised concerns from mental health professionals and advocates.
At the bottom of this message is a resource from the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). It includes detailed considerations for educators and parents, and provides resources and talking points for your review. A few key messages include:
- The National Association of School Psychologists does not recommend that vulnerable youth view this series. This is particularly important for adolescents who are isolated, struggling, or vulnerable to suggestive images and storylines.
- While some teenagers can differentiate between TV drama and reality, others cannot. Parents should consider watching the series with them and engaging in thoughtful conversation to help process the issues addressed.
- Suicide is preventable. By listening, talking, and acting you could save a life. People considering suicide typically say or do something that is a warning sign. Always take warning signs seriously. Review the warning signs of suicide. Common signs include:
- Suicide threats, both direct (“I am going to kill myself.” “I need life to stop.”) and indirect (“I need it to stop.” “I wish I could fall asleep and never wake up.”) Threats can be verbal or written, and they are often found in online postings.
- Giving away prized possessions or making final arrangements such as saying goodbye or deleting profiles, pictures, or online posts.
- Preoccupation with death in conversation, writing, drawing, and social media.
- Changes in behavior, appearance/hygiene, thoughts, and/or feelings. This can include someone who is typically sad who suddenly becomes extremely happy.
- Emotional distress.
- Reinforce that suicide is not a solution. It is neither heroic or romantic. It is an irreversible choice regarding a temporary problem. There is help and hope.
If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, talk to a trusted adult or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text "START" to 741-741. Additionally, the MSD of Lawrence Township wants to be a resource for your family. If you believe your child may be struggling, please contact your child’s school.
"13 Reasons Why" Resources provided by the National Association of School Psychologists
Prevención del suicidio juvenil