13 Reasons Why - 1



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Thirteen Reasons Why the Crisis Text Line 741741 is Here for You.


23-Year-Old's Suicide May Have Mimicked '13RW'
Students Are Harming Themselves Because Of 13RW
Parents react to 13RW *
Teens react to 13RW *

* Some of the people in these videos haven't seen the entire series which is a real minus to giving them any credibility   What would have been valuable is to get adults who have lost a child to suicide since March 31 and teens who have attempted suicide influenced by '13 Reasons Why.'

29:05 **
Cast, producers and mental health professionals discuss scenes dealing with difficult issues, including bullying, depression, cutting, death, and sexual assault (rape).
13 RW- Season 2 | official announcement trailer (2018)
What we can expect in Seasons Two
FIVE Major Details For 13RW Season 2

** This well-written and acted film obscures reality. on what the film is actually doing to at-risk people and seems to refuse to deal with the issue of contagion to setup season two. The Stanford University School of Medicine's Psychiatrist, Dr. Rona Hu, Cedar-Sinai Medical Center's Child Psychiatrist Rebecca Hendrick, and independent Clinical Psychologist Dr. Helen Hsu, are basically supporting the film by not using their positions and backing Medical Caenter's to be clear with the film producer's, Netflix and viewer's of the damage the film is causing, and continues to cause at-risk youth for every moment 13RW remains available on the Internet. While Neetflex stes that it is rated TV-TM (which means noone under 18 unless accompanied by a parent)

Producers continue to ignore the issue of contagion or acknowledge the copycat part 13RW is playing in the number of deaths by suicide and attempted suicides that it has actually caused since March 31, 2017 by their continued reluctance to address this issue. Hopefully some grieving family will hold them responsible for the future "copy cat" suicides Netflix airings will cause. Netflix tries to shift blame on parents and society, ignoring many research studies that confirm the dangers of clustering suicides around the depiction of a suicide on screen like 13RW.

13 Reasons Why - Season 2 | official announcement trailer (2018)

WARNING: "13 Reasons Why" Season 2 started May 18, 2018.
Know the facts. Have these
supportive resources available for parents, students and stakeholders. Encourage parents to watch with their children for their safety

See an additional Warning about 13RW here.

Warning: Season 2 of 13 Reasons Why breaks May 18. Watch it with your kids for their safety

This page is information on Season 1
here for information on Season 2
here for information on Season 3
here for information on Season 4
Why Beyoncé is the Suicide Prevention Hero We All Need
13RW poses risks to Oregon youth (Guest opinion)
Study: Teen Suicide Rate Spiked in Month After ‘13 Reasons Why’s’ Release
Netflix distributes pornographic content
Suicide Prevention After “13 Reasons Why”
How '13 Reasons Why' gets suicide wrong: Voices
Does '13 Reasons Why' Glamorize Teen Suicide? Rolling Stone
Thirteen Reasons to Be Concerned About "13 Reasons Why" - Bradley Hospital
Observers see increase in youth suicide attempts amid concerns over TV show
13 Reasons Why: Mental health groups warn Netflix suicide drama may do 'more harm than good'
R29 Binge Club: 13RW - A journey through the entire Season One
13RW Contagion

Did 13 Reasons Why Spark a Suicide Contagion Effect?
What Went Wrong With 13 Reasons Why?
The Science Behind Suicide Contagion
13RW and Suicide Contagion - Scientific American
Man commits suicide and leaves behind tapes, similar to 13RW
Is this the first 13RW copycat suicide?
Man imitated the 13RW suicide and left behind tapes

Talking with Tweens and Teens

Tips for parents to talk with their children about 13 Reasons Why and suicide
How To Encourage Someone To See A Therapist
Preventing teenage suicide & depression 4:27
Suicide Prevention After 13 RW
Talk with your teen about suicide
How to talk with your teen about 13RW
How should parents broach the subject of suicide with their kids?
The talk that could save a life: How to talk about suicide to kids of any age
Rabbi shares eulogy for teen to encourage discussion of suicide
Save a Friend: Tips for Teens to Prevent Suicide


Internet searches on suicide went up after '13 Reasons Why'
Why is there concern about the series?
Psychiatrist: Netflix should remove 13 RW immediately
13RW poses risks to Oregon youth (Guest opinion)
American Association of Suicidology's Responds to
13RW’s Controversial Depiction of Teen Suicide Has School Counselors Picking Up the Pieces
Why 13RW is dangerous - CNN
13RW faces backlash from suicide prevention advocacy group
Why I’m Saying No To 13RW

What Educators are Telling Parents

MICHIGAN: Oxford High School Students Begin Project Called “13 Reasons Why Not”
13RW Netflix Series: Considerations for Educators
Schools warn parents about Netflix's 13RW
Hawaii DOE letter about 13RW
13RW - Letter to Families English French Spanish
Broward Superintendent Pens Letter To Parents About Concern Over 13RW
Local superintendent sends letter to parents regarding 13RW
How Netflix’s 13RW is impacting Chesterfield County Schools
Schools warn parents about Netflix teen suicide series, 13RW

Parents, Grandparents & Adults with a Connection to Children

The Hidden Villain In 13RW Is Bad Parenting
13RW is must-watch TV for parents of teenagers
What should really scare parents about Netflix’s 13RW isn’t the teenage suicide
Health officials urge parents and families to talk about suicide and emotional distress - Oregon Health Authority

13RW Rape Episodes #9 & 12

How 13RW Depicts Rape Differently From Other TV Shows
Why 13RW Can Be Triggering for People Coping With Mental Illness

13RW Cutting Episode #13

The cutting storyline in 13RW is scary but true
How 13RW gets suicide wrong: Voices

13RW Death Episode #13

13RW Makes a Smarmy Spectacle of Suicide - The New Yorker  
The final episode of 13RW should never have been made.
13RW Was Wrong To Show Hannah’s Death? - And It Could Be Dangerous
Why it was irresponsible to show Hannah Baker’s suicide on 13RW
Is This The Most Shocking Depiction Of Suicide On TV?
The 13RW Suicide: Is the Graphic Scene Dangerous?

We need to talk about the ending

Medford schools respond to 13RW
Survivors of suicide loss say 13RW is sending the wrong message

“13 Reasons Why” Netflix Series: How School Counselors Can Help
'13 Reasons Why' spreads suicide like a disease: Column
Keeping the Conversation Going: An Update on 13 Reasons Why
High school students hope to combat suicide, depression with '13 Reasons Why Not' project
Why star, creator on the importance of a woman directing Hannah's sexual assault
Renewed for a Second Season
TV-TM Rating
The Semicolon & The Ripple Effect – How a Netflix Series is Opening Dialogue about Mental Health
Exploring how teens, young adults and parents responded to 13 Reasons WhyNorthwestern Center on Media and Human Development, March, 2018 Global Report (16 page PDF)
Related topics:
Are you feeling suicidal? Attempts, Crisis Text Line, Crisis Trends, Contagion/Clustering, Depression, Emergency Phone/Chat/Text Numbers, Facebook Live , Guns, How to Help, How to talk with your kids about suicide, Mental Illness, Need to Talk?, Online Depression Screening Test , Oregon Suicides 1990 to date, Prevention, Religion, Safety Plan, Secrets No More, 741741, Semicolon Campaign, Stigma, Struggling Teen, Suicide, Suicide Internationally, Suicide Notes, Suicide Resources, Suicide 10-14 Year-Olds, Teen Depression, Teen Suicide, 3-Day Rule, 13 Reasons Why', Veterans, Warning Signs

If you or someone you know are having suicidal thoughts or are in crisis, call 911 or TEXT 741741 or call or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. Find other emergency helplines here.

 Know that the series has a TV-MA rating, meaning it's for mature audiences over 17. While it's not suitable for kids under 18, it's very popular among teenagers. That has school principals concerned that parents are clueless to the fact that kids are watching the show on their mobile devices.

Official Trailer

Hannah Baker Tape 1

Hannah Baker Tape 1 continued - Justin
Hannah Baker Tape 2 - Alex
Hannah Baker Tape 3 - Jessica
Hannah Baker Tape 4 - Tyler
Hannah Baker Tape 5 - Courtney
Hannah Baker Tape 6 - Marcus
Hannah Baker Tape 7 - Zach
Hannah Baker Tape 8 - Ryan
Hannah Baker Tape 9
Hannah Baker Tape 10 - Justin and ???
Hannah Baker Tape 10 - Justin and ???
Hannah Baker Tape 11 - Jenny 2:28
Hannah Baker Tape 12
Hannah Baker Tape 13 -
Hannah Baker Tape 14
Hannah Baker's Poem
13 REASONS WHY Ending Explained & Season 2 Theories | Shine On Media
12 Facts About 13 Reasons Why
About Hannah's Sexual Assault
Teens React
Selena Gomez Has a Message for Teens Watching Netflix's '13 Reasons Why'
Teachable Moment Using “13 Reasons Why” to Initiate a Helpful Conversation About

Netflix distributes pornographic content

Last year, Netflix released "13 Reasons Why" — an original series based on a popular young adult novel of the same name, about a teenage girl who commits suicide, despite concerns from school counselors and suicide prevention experts about the possibility of “suicide contagion.”

After it debuted, Google searches on how to commit suicide spiked by 26 percent. Nevertheless, Netflix renewed for a second and even a third season.

When asked about the controversial program during the 2018 shareholder meeting, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings callously remarked, “Nobody has to watch it.”

Well, of course nobody has to watch it. But people do. Kids do. And based on news reports, some of those kids have been inspired by it to consider taking their own lives.

More: Doctor visits about suicidal thoughts rose with '13 Reasons Why.' Handle Season 2 with care.

'This Is Us': Toxic stress on TV is reality for many Americans

How '13 Reasons Why' gets suicide wrong: Voices
Source: www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2018/08/22/netflix-not-trusted-content-proves-turned-back-families-column/1012736002/

Suicide Prevention After “13 Reasons Why”

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text SOS to 741741

The Netflix series “13 Reasons Why” continues to gain visibility, interest, and concern among parents, educators, suicide prevention professionals, and the media. The “most tweeted about show of 2017,” “13 Reasons Why” is based on the fictional story of a high schooler named Hannah who dies by suicide and leaves behind cassette recordings for the thirteen people who she feels are responsible for her death. The series graphically portrays difficult issues including a suicide death, bullying, rape, and drunk driving; and raises concerns that glorifying suicide on television may increase risk of suicidal ideation, attempts, and suicides among youth.

Whether they are watching the show or not, youth need support from parents and other trusted adults to process difficult topics like self-harm and to understand the implications of certain choices.

Empowering Youth to Move Beyond the Story

We all have a role to play in helping reinforce in our communities that suicide is not the answer to problems and that reaching out to a trusted adult, friend, or crisis line makes an enormous difference in almost every potentially suicidal situation. Some of the youth calling our YouthLine are watching and being impacted by “13 Reasons Why.” When we talk with youth about any problem, we:

  • Listen
  • Support
  • Meet youth where they’re at and let them know their feelings matter
  • Work with youth to figure out next steps (and sometime connect them with resources)
  • Don’t judge, give advice, tell youth what to do, or make them feel dumb or unreasonable

Youth are resilient and can separate fact from fiction; however, parents, educators, and other trusted adults must have meaningful conversations with youth about “13 Reasons Why.” Talking openly can help youth process the difficult topics and the implications of certain choices. Conversations are an opportunity to reinforce that suicide is not the answer to problems and that reaching out to a trusted adult or a crisis line makes an enormous difference in almost every potentially suicidal situation.

Guidance, Messaging, and Resources

For School Administrators, Educators and Other Professionals

As your school seeks to address immediate concerns about “13 Reasons Why,” you may find it useful to refer to the National Association of School Psychologists’ “13 Reasons Why” Netflix Series: Considerations for Educators.

We encourage you to evaluate suicide prevention readiness in your school(s) and identify opportunities to improve suicide prevention. You can take key steps today to proactively address the issues of mental health and suicide, assess the needs of your school, and ensure measures are in place to prevent suicide or respond when students are in crisis. The following resources can help you get started:

13 Reasons Why Netflix Series: Consideration for Educatorsfile:///C:/Users/Gordon/Downloads/13%20Reasons%20Why%20Guidance_FINAL.pdf

Additionally, our YouthLine program offers consultation, classroom lessons, and resources to help students tackle common life stressors, normalize getting help instead of struggling alone, destigmatize mental health and substance use issues, and identify a personalized safety net of adults and community services.


Whether watching the show at home, at a friend’s house, or hearing about it from their peers, it’s likely that your child will be exposed to “13 Reasons Why.” Talk with young people, not at them. Ask questions like “How do you feel about 13 Reasons Why?” and then listen. You can create a safe environment for two way conversation and the following resources can help:

For Members of the Press

While “13 Reasons Why” brings serious and complicated issues to the forefront and invites conversation about a topic that is misunderstood and often stigmatized, the show disregards evidence that shows “certain types of news coverage can increase the likelihood of suicide in vulnerable individuals”

This web site provides information and context about suicide, youth mental health, and bullying and much more and we encourage all media outlets to follow evidence-based Recommendations for Reporting on Suicide.
Source: www.linesforlife.org/blog/suicide-prevention-after-13-reasons-why/

Did 13 Reasons Why Spark a Suicide Contagion Effect?

A new study reveals that internet searches for suicide skyrocketed in the wake of the show’s release.

Within days of the release of 13 Reasons Why, Netflix’s teen-oriented drama about a high-school student who takes her own life, the show was being loudly criticized by suicide-prevention experts, who were concerned it could lead to a suicide-contagion effect and a spate of copycat attempts. Now, research published at the end of July argues that those concerns may have been founded. Google queries about suicide rose by almost 20 percent in 19 days after the show came out, representing between 900,000 and 1.5 million more searches than usual regarding the subject.

The study, published at JAMA Internal Medicine, used Google Trends to monitor certain search terms regarding the subject of suicide, like “how to commit suicide,” “suicide hotline number,” and “teen suicide.” Seventeen out of the top 20 searches were significantly elevated, and the biggest increases came with terms related to suicidal thoughts and ideation, like “how to kill yourself.” The time period for searches ended on April 18 to preclude the suicide of the former NFL player Aaron Hernandez, which could have influenced data, and any searches related to the movie Suicide Squad were discounted.

The study’s authors write that it’s unclear whether an increase in searches regarding suicide meant an increase in actual suicide attempts, although they note that there’s typically a correlation between the two, and that “searches for precise suicide methods increased after the series’ release.” Their analyses, the authors concluded, “suggest 13 Reasons Why, in its present form, has both increased suicide awareness while unintentionally increasing suicidal ideation.”

The study, while troubling, is not entirely surprising. In May, I examined how 13 Reasons Why managed to break virtually every rule that exists when it comes to portraying suicide, featuring a graphic, prolonged scene of the main character’s death in the final episode and glamorizing it as a force for positive change in her community. One of the biggest concerns among psychologists and educators was that the show might spark a contagion effect, where increased coverage of suicide in the media leads to a related increase in suicide attempts. Netflix doesn’t release data regarding its viewing figures, but the wide discussion of the show on social media (it became the most-tweeted about show of 2017) implies that a significant number of people watched it, particularly teenagers. The rush to produce a follow-up season (currently being filmed and scheduled for a 2018 release) indicates the show has been a big hit for the streaming service.

The question is whether this particular study, or any of the allegations that the show directly led to copycat suicides and suicide attempts, will be enough of an impetus for the show’s producers to respond. The study’s authors suggest that editing out the scene of Hannah Baker’s suicide from the show and adding information about suicide hotlines to episodes could immediately minimize some of 13 Reasons Why’s “deleterious effects.” Netflix’s response to the study, though, indicated no such moves would be forthcoming. “We always believed this show would increase discussion around this tough subject matter,” the company said in a statement. “This is an interesting quasi-experimental study that confirms this. We are looking forward to more research and taking everything we learn to heart as we prepare for Season 2.” Netflix declined interview requests from The Atlantic regarding the show.

What the study does show is that art and entertainment have real power, and that as patterns of media consumption change, directors and producers don’t have the luxury of imagining their work in a vacuum. When television shows can be consumed instantaneously by Netflix’s 100 million subscribers, they can also have an immediate impact on public health, particularly when they’re targeting teenage viewers. An editorial published at JAMA commenting on the study stated that teens are particularly vulnerable when it comes to binge viewing. “This immersion into the story and images may have a particularly strong effect on adolescents,” it argued, “whose brains are still developing the ability to inhibit certain emotions, desires, and actions.”

Netflix and the producers of 13 Reasons Why, who reportedly disregarded advice from mental-health experts not to release the first season, have repeatedly claimed that the show is raising awareness around the subject of suicide, banishing stigmas, and leading to more discussion of a sensitive topic. But as this study implies, focusing public attention on suicide without taking recommended efforts to minimize harm can be counterproductive, and even dangerous. Dr. Dan Reidenberg, the executive director of Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, told me in May that he disagreed with the argument that simply broaching the topic in popular culture is enough. “It has definitely started a conversation about suicide,” he said, “but it hasn’t been the right one.”
Source: www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2017/08/13-reasons-why-demonstrates-cultures-power/535518/

Internet searches on suicide went up after '13 Reasons Why'

In the season finale of the popular Netflix TV series "13 Reasons Why,"17-year-old student Hannah Baker kills herself in a prolonged three-minute scene.

Even though the entire story, much of it told through flashbacks, has been leading up to this moment, and viewers already know Hannah is dead, the graphic sequence is a torment to watch. New research suggests that the show - perhaps this very scene - could have triggered suicidal thoughts in its viewers, many of whom are young people.

The 13-episode series, which was released all at once, chronicles 13 tapes that Hannah sends to those she blames for her actions. The series has captured the imagination of kids across the country. In April, it set a record for the most-tweeted-about show in 2017, when it was mentioned more than 11 million times within three weeks of its March 31 launch.

Now a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine has found that within the same three weeks, internet searches about suicide were significantly higher than expected.

"Our analyses suggest 13 Reasons Why, in its present form, has both increased suicidal awareness while unintentionally increasing suicidal ideation," the authors wrote. "The most rising queries focused on suicidal ideation. For instance, 'how to commit suicide', 'commit suicide' and 'how to kill yourself' were all significantly higher."

Overall, suicide queries were 19 percent higher in the 19 days following the series' release, "reflecting 900,000 to 1.5 million more searches than expected," the paper reported.

John Ayers, professor of public health at San Diego State University, decided to analyze the impact of the show after it sparked a spirited debate between its creators and mental health professionals and educators about its potentially damaging influence on children. His goal was to use near-real-time data to assess any damage quickly.

"Past studies have validated that Internet searches mirror real-world suicide rates, so suicide rates have likely gone up as a result of this program," said Ayers. "For me, as a data-driven public health scientist, I see this troubling data as a strong call to action. The show must be taken down."

Netflix replied in a statement: "We always believed this show would increase discussion around this tough subject matter. This is an interesting quasi-experimental study that confirms this. We are looking forward to more research and taking everything we learn to heart as we prepare for Season 2."

Netflix has also included warnings ahead of its three most graphic episodes, including the finale with the suicide scene, and links to suicide prevention websites and a hotline.

Since its release, hundreds of school superintendents across the United States have sent warnings to parents about the show's possible effects on their children's mental health.

"As a father of a teenager and tween, I am very concerned about a dangerous trend we have observed in our schools in recent days," Palm Beach County Schools Superintendent Robert M. Avossa wrote to parents. "School District personnel have observed an increase in youth at-risk behavior at the elementary and middle school levels to include self-mutilation, threats of suicide, and multiple Baker Act incidents." (The Baker Act is a Florida law that allows the involuntary commitment of people who may have mental illness and are deemed a danger to themselves or others.) "Students involved in the recent incidents have articulated associations of their at-risk behavior to the '13 Reasons Why' Netflix series."

The National Association of School Psychologists put out a public caution, recommending that young people with known suicidal thoughts stay away from the show completely.

The fear of Hannah Baker-copycats is not just theoretical - several child psychiatrists have already begun to see suicidal patients who bring up the show during treatment.

Dan Nelson, medical director of the child psychiatry inpatient unit at Cincinnati Children's Hospital, says "13 Reasons Why" first caused him alarm when he spoke with a 12-year-old patient about it in May.

"She said to me, 'I saw that show and it really convinced me that suicide was a normal thing to do,'" he said. "I've never heard that. In 30 years, I've never heard a child say this thing made me think suicide is normal. That really got my attention."

Kimberly O'Brien, a researcher at Boston Children's Hospital and an instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, agreed. "I personally have seen multiple psychiatric admissions where the admission note details the fact that the teen said that they wanted to 'kill myself the way the girl in 13 Reason Why did,'" she said. "This is extremely concerning because it is showing us, just like it has in research studies, that pictures or detailed descriptions of how or where a person died by suicide can be a factor in vulnerable individuals imitating the attempt."

Heidi Anderson, an 18-year-old high school student from northern Kentucky, said that, as the survivor of a suicide attempt, she could only make herself watch bits of the series. "I feel it very much glamorizes it," she said. "I feel it shows how much attention you get, and I don't think it's bringing attention to the right parts of suicide."

According to researchers, including Ayers and O'Brien, the effects of the show could be curtailed, for instance by removing the scenes showing suicide.

"I'm not a proponent of censorship, but if there's a way to retrofit it, they should. The story line and certain scenes would have to be changed considerably before it would be safe and responsible," said Madelyn Gould, youth suicide expert and professor of epidemiology in psychiatry at Columbia University, who was not involved with the research. "Even if the series raised some awareness, the question the creators need to ask is - at what price?" (Editor's note: To date (5/11/18) on the eve of the start of Season 2 (5/18/18), no changes have been made in the Season One Suicide issue spoken about here, which shows an incredible level of arogance by Netflix and the 13RW producers. - Gordon Clay)
Source: www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/ct-internet-searches-suicide-increase-13-reasons-why-20230731-story.html

13 Reasons Why and Suicide Contagion - Scientific American

What science shows about the dangers of suicide depictions.

The Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why, has caused a furor. In the show, a high school student who has died by suicide has left 13 tapes, one for each person she believes have contributed in some way to her eventual decision. Each episode relates to an individual tape. The penultimate episode depicts the suicide in a gruesome manner. Some say the series is an accurate and sensitive portrayal of the inner angst of an individual that will help enlighten us as to the motivations behind suicidal behaviour and suicide itself. Such an openness can only be good and may be helpful to others in similar predicaments. Critics, though, have worried that it may glamorise suicide or normalise it as a legitimate option when dealing with interpersonal predicaments—leading to more suicides.

It is well known that suicide can be a contagious phenomenon. “Copycat” suicides are seen in local clusters from time to time. Any possible causes of such contagion should be taken seriously, but the science shows that the role that fiction can play in inspiring suicide is at best unclear. 13 Reasons Why is not the first work of fiction to be embroiled in this type of controversy. Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet has been accused of glamorising suicide. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s novel, The Sorrows of Young Werther, released in 1774, describes the pain and heartache experienced by Werther because of his affection for Charlotte, who eventually married Albert, Werther’s friend. Unable to cope, Werther decides that one of them must die and ends up shooting himself with Albert’s pistol. It was widely believed that von Goethe’s work led to a wave of young men deciding to end their lives all over Europe, many of whom were dressed in the same clothing as von Goethe’s description of Werther and using similar pistols. Some even had the copies of the novel beside their bodies with the page opened to the page of the suicide scene. The suicide researcher, David Phillips, coined the term, “The Werther Effect,” to refer to the phenomenon of copycat suicides. The result of Phillips’ research from the 1970’s was the recommendation that stories about suicide not be placed on the front page of newspapers.

In Vienna of the 1980’s, a spate of subway suicides was combatted by the city’s main newspapers’ decision to substantially curtail the publicity surrounding these deaths. After a certain date, these suicides were no longer mentioned. This coincided with a progressive fall in the number of subway suicides illustrating the power for good of the media.

Counteracting the Werther Effect, though, is the Papageno Effect, taking its name from the character, Papageno in Mozart’s Opera The Magic Flute. Papageno tries to hang himself after he’s convinced that he will never win over his love, Papagena. He is persuaded, though, by 3 child-spirits not to end his life.

Research has shown that excessive media coverage of suicides of celebrity figures actually has led to an increase in suicide attempts and ideation. Women in their 30’s were more at risk of suicide after Marilyn Monroe’s death in 1962. Suicide experts King-wa Fu and Paul Yip examined the impacts of the deaths of 3 Asian celebrities on suicide using a time series analysis comparing the deaths in the weeks before and after the suicide. They found a substantial rise in the number of suicides in the first, second and third weeks after the death of each celebrity in Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan compared to a reference period. This was even more the case with people of the same gender as the celebrities.

However, the research evidence in relation to fictional portrayals of suicide in TV and film is more complicated. Pirkis and colleagues reviewed the literature regarding film and television drama portrayals of suicide. The group was unable to offer conclusive answers to questions surrounding the impact of fictional suicides on actual suicidal outcomes in the general population.

Studies attempting to assess the effect of broadcasting an episode of the British soap, Eastenders, on March 2nd, 1986 have been conducted. This episode featured an attempted overdose by a female character in her 30’s. The studies attempted to assess the attendance at emergency departments in the UK before and after the episode. Some of the studies provided evidence for a copycat effect, but some did not. Mixed findings were reported in others. Therefore, it just cannot be concluded whether fictional portrayals of suicidal behaviour on film and television increase its incidence in the population. While it is certainly true that over-the-top media representations of suicide of celebrity-type figures will have a copycat effect, it does appear that the public at large are able to distinguish fact from fiction.

Nevertheless, we should be aware of the Werther and Papageno Effects. It is difficult to see how the fictional portrayal of suicide in an explicit manner could have a positive effect in any way unless, of course, the downsides of suicide in terms of its effect on relatives and friends are also strongly portrayed. From a deterrent perspective, the gruesome nature of the suicide itself may be a positive feature, and the same could be said of the adverse effects on the survivors. However, the message that suicide can have simple, or a simple set, of causes, or that suicide represents some type of solution, is unfortunate. There is never one reason why, or even thirteen.
Source: www.scientificamerican.com/article/13-reasons-why-and-suicide-contagion1/

'13 Reasons Why' is must-watch TV for parents of teenagers

The controversial Netflix series is inappropriate for kids but holds important lessons for the adults in their lives.

Since the debut of 13 Reasons Why on Netflix, and now with plans for a second season, public officials and parents have expressed concerns that the series glamorizes suicide and may trigger vulnerable teens struggling with mental illness. Colleagues in the mental health field have spoken to me about patients struggling with the show’s content, and schools are seeing a rise in student self-harm.

But we should really be talking about the parents.

I agree with my colleagues that 13 Reasons Why is inappropriate for teenagers. Yet some of its lessons on parenting — or lack thereof — could prove valuable.

Adolescence is characterized by increased independence and identity formation. Coupled with an underdeveloped ability to reason and plan, adolescents often cannot anticipate the consequences of their actions, and they need continued supervision and support. Teenagers with minimal monitoring are more likely to have sex, abuse substances, and engage in other risky behavior, so it’s unsurprising that the teens in 13 Reasons Why suffer significant pain and hardship while unsupervised. Suicide is the third leading cause of adolescent deaths, and parents have a duty to identify the signs and symptoms to help guide distressed teens toward appropriate treatments.

Hannah, the protagonist of the show, takes her life and leaves behind 13 audiotapes that describe how peers and school officials failed her and were ultimately responsible for her suicide. Her parents are blindsided and spend the first season trying to decipher her motives. They had little insight into the serious struggles of their daughter, and via flashbacks, we see myriad misplaced sentiments and missed opportunities for discussion. For instance, on the night of a dance, they give her a car so she can drive friends they’ve never met to the party and fail to talk to her about drugs or sex. In another example, after Hannah loses a valuable cash deposit, her mother simply says, “It’s fine.” Hannah then goes to a party — again lacking in adult supervision — where she is raped. And yet, Hannah’s mother and father are the show’s most informed and communicative parents.

Clay, an anxious teen and one of Hannah’s romantic interests, receives her tapes at the start of the show. It’s not until the last episode, by which point Clay has been forced to chug a beer, beaten, keyed someone’s car, and contemplated suicide, that he finally confides in his parents about the tapes. In the meantime, though they recognize his suffering, they do nothing but fill old anti-anxiety medications for him. Another of Hannah’s friends, Alex, has a father whose interactions with his son are robotic and militant. Throughout the series, Alex, like Clay, begins to mentally deteriorate, but unlike Clay, Alex has access to his father’s gun cabinet.

The other families are noticeably absent, traveling for work, replaced by maids, or distracted by drugs and domestic violence. When they appear, it’s too late to staunch the fear and violence that have shaped their children’s lives in their absence.

Parents in the show are rarely depicted addressing their teens’ behavior, like after Clay is confronted by the angry parent of a peer whose car he keyed. His parents simply make assumptions and table the issue. Parents must set limits for their children, educate them about how their behaviors affect others, and teach them to effectively manage their frustrations. The latter is especially important, as parents have a significant impact on teens’ successful emotional regulation and socialization.

Cyber bullying is prevalent in the show, but parents are never portrayed scrolling through their teens’ texts or social media accounts, though unfiltered use of SM is linked to adolescent anxiety, depression and low self-esteem. Parents must be vigilant about their teens’ SM use and online presence, which includes familiarizing themselves with SM apps and friending their teens online.

Successfully parenting today’s teens requires close supervision, effective limit-setting and SM monitoring. Identifying symptoms of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and suicidal thoughts is imperative for early intervention and improved outcomes. But what is most important for parents — and lacking in 13 Reasons Why — is curiosity. Curiosity about teens’ friends, hobbies, homework or hairstyle choices. Parents too often dismiss their teens’ emotions as entitled, or their school-related struggles as trite, which leads to a feeling among teens that they are misunderstood and alone. But adolescence isn’t trite. High school experiences and the decisions made during those formative years shape teens’ mental and emotional development for life.

Last week, I talked with a young adult who told me his depression began in eighth grade, when he was bullied about his weight. 13 Reasons Why was fresh on my mind. I asked how the bullying has impacted his life. He looked at me quizzically, and finally replied that if someone had asked him then, he wouldn't be here now.

Mirjana Domakonda is a child psychiatrist at Columbia University and a Public Voices Fellow with The OpEd Project.Follow her on Twitter: @anakondamd
Source: www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2017/05/23/13-reasons-why-holds-lessons-for-parents-column/101985974/

The Hidden Villain In '13 Reasons Why' Is Bad Parenting

If there's one thing that being a parent and being a teenager have in common, it's that both experiences are unfathomably difficult. So difficult that you might want to tune out the hard parts — which is a tactic that a few of the characters on 13 Reasons Why use to get by. But, as we all witnessed, apathy and a lack of understanding are the exact things that led to Hannah's death and to the many other tragedies that happen over the course of the first season of this teen drama. In particular, the parents of 13 Reasons Why can't seem to understand or empathize with their kids, as hard as they try, and this only leads to more and more hurt as the series goes on. Hannah may have dedicated the tapes to her fellow students, but their parents also play a role in what went down.

13 Reasons Why is a teen tragedy of the highest order, and a large part of that tragedy is that the parents aren't able to see what pressures and traumas are affecting their children. The final moments of the season show Hannah's tapes being given to her parents, and, though we don't get to see the aftermath of that, when they listen to the tapes, it will be the first time Hannah's parents will hear about everything that she went through. It will be the first time they hear about the abuse the suffered, the assaults she witnessed or was the victim of, and all of the people who threw her in front of a metaphorical train to get ahead. Weeks after her suicide, her parents will finally have a chance to understand why she took her own life.

While Clay spends the first season of 13 Reasons Why reeling from the reasons Hannah killed herself, Hannah's parents suffer from a lack of any information surrounding their daughter's death. This affects their marriage and their individual well-being as her death lingers in their home, their pharmacy, and everywhere they go in Crestmont. From the series, there's no indication that Hannah's parents wouldn't have supported her through the many difficulties she faced — but the perceived need for both Hannah and her parents to believe that she was a fine young woman that nothing bad happened to helped drive Hannah to a place where she couldn't pretend to be alright anymore.

Hannah's parents not being able to see what was affecting their daughter is one of many depressing details in a tragic tale, but their plight should serve as a warning to every other parent in Crestmont. All the other students at Liberty High are similarly pulled in two directions when it comes to what their parents think of them compared to who they actually are. It's clear what happened to Hannah, but what will happen to other students who think they have to face the stress of life alone and that they can't reach out to their own parents for help?

What happens to Zack Dempsey, a top prospect in Basketball, whose mother expects him to be a "nice kid" but who falls far short of that? What happens to Courtney Crimson, who is scared of coming out because she's worried about being the gay daughter of two gay fathers in an unpredictable social environment? What happens to Jessica, who is terrified of telling anyone, let alone her father, about her sexual assault? What happens to Tyler, when he reveals to his parents that he was stalking Hannah Baker? All of these students want to be that "nice kid," who nothing bad ever happened to and who has done nothing wrong, because, for them, it feels like that image is the key to keeping their parents from being disappointed in them.

On the opposite end of the damaging spectrum are the parents who just don't care. Bryce Walker's parents are never seen, but their presence is felt in every scene that takes place at the Walkers' luxurious mansion — and their absence may explain why Bryce thinks he can get away with violent acts. Justin, on the other hand, has a mother who does care about her son, but not more than she cares about her addiction and her relationship with an aggressive, drug dealing boyfriend. Justin's need for another family leads to his actions being controlled by Bryce, who provides emotional and financial support — but expects to take what he wants from Justin in exchange.

No character gets the shorter end of the stick, however, than poor Alex Standall. The moment that septum-pierced, blonde-dyed Alex refers to his father as "Sir," their entire relationship is clearly illustrated. Having a father who just wanted results and had no time for emotion takes a toll on the heartbroken Alex; with no emotional support at home or at school, Alex Standall becomes the second teenager in 13 Reasons Why to attempt suicide.

The truly heartbreaking thing is that, in many cases, it would only take some effort from both sides to make a difference. For example, no one's parents try harder to actually understand their child than Clay's, but it's not as easy as asking "What's wrong?" at the dinner table. Clay becomes aggressive and distant, but, after persisting with a gentle touch and honest intentions, Clay's mother finally gets him to talk about everything he's been feeling. It doesn't fix everything in Clay's whirlwind life, but it's a start. More importantly, his parents are more than willing to do the tough emotional work needed to improve their connection to their son, allowing him to be himself and not the version of himself that he thinks his parents want.

The point of Hannah's tapes is that she suffered through a difficult life, and she suffered through it alone. The tragedy of Hannah's tapes is that she didn't have to be alone. 13 Reasons Why portrays the sad reality that, for a lot of people growing up or who have grown up, parental support just doesn't seem available or adequate. And this lack of support can have absolutely horrifying consequence

Why is there concern about the series?

Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) has received many questions about the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why (13RW). We list the most common questions from parents, schools, media, and community leaders below, with resources to help you talk about the series and suicide risk and prevention.

Why is there concern about the series?

I am a parent. How do I talk with my child about 13RW?

I work with students. What can schools do to keep students safe?

I work in the media. How do I talk about 13RW in my article or reporting?

I lead suicide prevention efforts in my community. How should I address 13RW?

Source: www.sprc.org/13-reasons-why

'13 Reasons Why' poses risks to Oregon youth (Guest opinion)

Although a fictional story, the television series "13 Reasons Why" focuses on very real issues that affect youth and young adults. The show's graphic depiction of the traumatic life events that led to the suicide of a young woman may have already adversely affected Oregon's youth.

Since its Netflix release in March 2017, multiple young people in Portland area hospitals have reported they watched the series prior to their own suicide attempt. While the series seeks to capture the agonizing challenges of sexual trauma, bullying and suicide, its content poses a significant risk to vulnerable youth, particularly in the absence of supportive peers and adults.

There are many aspects of the series that represent incorrect notions about the psychology and behavior of most young people who die by suicide. The central character is portrayed as seeking revenge, and the adults in her life appear oblivious to her struggles and incapable of offering support. The overarching message glamorizes suicide as a heroic action while failing to offer any sense of hope or alternatives to self-destruction. In reality, most youth who die by suicide struggle with treatable mental health or substance-use disorders. Suicide is never heroic; rather, it is tragic and preventable.

While Netflix's decision to increase viewer warnings about graphic content may have some value from a legal perspective, it does not do enough to offer specific avenues to seek help. The failure to include suicide prevention resources during each episode is particularly disturbing given the targeted population for the series appears to be teenagers and young adults. This demographic has an elevated risk for completing suicide. Perhaps the greatest concern is well-established evidence that sensational media coverage of suicide clearly leads to increased risk of contagion and clusters of suicide by other youth.

Bullying and shaming through social media, sexual trauma and suicide are very real challenges facing young people and deserve conversation and action. As mental health experts, however, we recommend against the use of "13 Reasons Why" as a tool to encourage conversation about suicide prevention, at any age. Young people who wish to view the program should do so with a supportive adult who can encourage conversation and recommend confidential local and national resources, if necessary.

"13 Reasons Why I Found Help" is the series that we really need to prevent one of the leading causes of death in the population this serial seeks to engage.

Ajit Jetmalani, M.D., Joseph Professor of psychiatry and head of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Doernbecher Children's Hospital. Other contributors include Kyle P. Johnson, M.D., associate professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at Doernbecher; Keith Cheng, M.D., interim medical director of Unity Center for Behavioral Health Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Unit.

Suicide prevention resources

The 24/7 suicide prevention service Lines for Life (www.linesforlife.org) offers advice to parents, teachers, youth and the media dealing with suicide, both in general and as related to this series. Those personally experiencing suicidal thinking or behavior, or who are concerned about a loved one, should call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or Text SOS to 741741 immediately. Additional resources include Youth Line (youth to youth support) at 877-968-8491, or text Teen2Teen 839863; The Trevor Project (LGBTQ youth), 866-488-7386; and the Veterans Crisis Line, 800-273-8255.
Source: www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2017/05/13_reasons_why_poses_risks_to.html

Psychiatrist: Netflix should remove '13 Reasons Why' immediately

As parents and teachers express concern over the new Netflix suicide show “13 Reasons Why," a prominent adolescent psychiatrist is calling on the company to stop streaming the series.

“This show should be pulled off the air immediately,” Dr. Harold S. Koplewicz, president of the Child Mind Institute, told TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie on Friday.

“Teenage suicide is contagious. We know for over three decades that when kids watch television where they depict a suicide, they’re more likely to attempt and they’re more likely to actually (kill themselves).”

Netflix declined to respond to Koplewicz's remarks. The original series depicts a fictional high school student who leaves behind a trail of tapes revealing 13 reasons — including bullying, underage drinking and sexual assault — that her character says led her to kill herself.

With 5,000 teenagers predicted take their own lives this year, Koplewicz told TODAY Parents there are 5,000 reasons for Netflix to remove the series. Here’s what he wants families to know:

Why should the show be pulled off the air?

Koplewicz: Teenagers are more at risk for committing suicide than children or adults. Ninety percent of teenagers who commit suicide have a psychiatric disorder. That means that they are very vulnerable.

The problem with “13 Reasons Why” is that it shows you that when you’re in trouble as a teenager, there is no help, you’re hopeless and that suicide is glamorous and effective — that’s not the message we want them to have.

Three decades ago, studies were done after there were four TV programs on the networks about teen suicides. About two weeks after the event, versus the two weeks before the show was seen on TV, there was a definite increase in both attempts and actual completions.

Netflix has been completely unethical and irresponsible in putting this show on the air because it ignores decades-worth of research and public health policy on how we take care of teenagers in general, and how we take care of vulnerable teenagers.

It’s only a matter of time when we will start seeing more suicide attempts among teenagers and more completions. The responsible thing to do is to remove the program immediately, not to keep promoting it.

What should parents know about ’13 Reasons Why’?

Koplewicz: This is a very high-risk television program.

Here we have a show that has very attractive people and a character who committed suicide and is glorified. The message that comes out again and again in the 13 episodes is that when you are a teenager and you feel hopeless, suicide is the solution. That’s a terrible message for all teenagers, but particularly for those who are vulnerable.

I would tell parents that they shouldn’t permit their children to watch it. If they have seen some or all of it, then it’s absolutely imperative that you sit down and have a conversation with your child and explain to them that suicide is not a solution. That if they are facing any bad event or bad feeling, you are there as a parent to help them.

You most probably have to discuss the show with your children whether or not they’re going to watch it because if you don’t, someone else is telling them about it.
Source: www.today.com/parents/13-reasons-why-psychiatrist-calls-netflix-pull-series-t110934

"13 Reasons Why" Netflix Series: Considerations for Educators

Schools have an important role in preventing youth suicide, and being aware of potential risk factors in students’ lives is vital to this responsibility. The trending Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, based on a young adult novel of the same name, is raising such concerns. The series revolves around 17-year-old Hannah Baker, who takes her own life and leaves behind audio recordings for 13 people who she says in some way were part of why she killed herself. Each tape recounts painful events in which one or more of the 13 individuals played a role.

Producers for the show say they hope the series can help those who may be struggling with thoughts of suicide. However, the series, which many teenagers are binge watching without adult guidance and support, is raising concerns from suicide prevention experts about the potential risks posed by the sensationalized treatment of youth suicide. The series graphically depicts a suicide death and addresses in wrenching detail a number of difficult topics, such a bullying, rape, drunk driving, and slut shaming. The series also highlights the consequences of teenagers witnessing assaults and bullying (i.e., bystanders) and not taking action to address the situation (e.g., not speaking out against the incident, not telling an adult about the incident).


We do not recommend that vulnerable youth, especially those who have any degree of suicidal ideation, watch this series. Its powerful storytelling may lead impressionable viewers to romanticize the choices made by the characters and/or develop revenge fantasies. They may easily identify with the experiences portrayed and recognize both the intentional and unintentional effects on the central character. Unfortunately, adult characters in the show, including the second school counselor who inadequately addresses Hannah’s pleas for help, do not inspire a sense of trust or ability to help. Hannah’s parents are also unaware of the events that lead to her suicide death.

While many youth are resilient and capable of differentiating between a TV drama and real life, engaging in thoughtful conversations with them about the show is vital. Doing so presents an opportunity to help them process the issues addressed, consider the consequences of certain choices, and reinforce the message that suicide is not a solution to problems and that help is available. This is particularly important for adolescents who are isolated, struggling, or vulnerable to suggestive images and storylines. Research shows that exposure to another person’s suicide, or to graphic or sensationalized accounts of death, can be one of the many risk factors that youth struggling with mental health conditions cite as a reason they contemplate or attempt suicide.

What the series does accurately convey is that there is no single cause of suicide. Indeed, there are likely as many different pathways to suicide as there are suicide deaths. However, the series does not emphasize that common among most suicide deaths is the presence of treatable mental illnesses. Suicide is not the simple consequence of stressors or coping challenges, but rather, it is most typically a combined result of treatable mental illnesses and overwhelming or intolerable stressors.

School psychologists and other school-employed mental health professionals can assist stakeholders (e.g., school administrators, parents, and teachers) to engage in supportive conversations with students as well as provide resources and offer expertise in preventing harmful behaviors.

Guidance for Educators

1. While we do not recommend that all students view this series, it can be appreciated as an opportunity to better understand young people’s experiences, thoughts, and feelings. Children and youth who view this series will need supportive adults to process it. Take this opportunity to both prevent the risk of harm and identify ongoing social and behavior problems in the school community that may need to be addressed.

2. Help students articulate their perceptions when viewing controversial content, such as 13 Reasons Why. The difficult issues portrayed do occur in schools and communities, and it is important for adults to listen, take adolescents’ concerns seriously, and be willing to offer to help.

3. Reinforce that school-employed mental health professionals are available to help. Emphasize that the behavior of the second counselor in the series is understood by virtually all school-employed mental health professionals as inappropriate. It is important that all school-employed mental health professionals receive training in suicide risk assessment.

4. Make sure parents, teachers, and students are aware of suicide risk warning signs. Always take warning signs seriously, and never promise to keep them secret. Establish a confidential reporting mechanism for students. 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.
  • 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.

5. Students who feel suicidal are not likely to seek help directly; however, parents, school personnel, and peers can recognize the warning signs and take immediate action to keep the youth safe. When a student gives signs that they may be considering suicide, take the following actions:

  • Remain calm, be nonjudgmental, and listen. Strive to understand the intolerable emotional pain that has resulted in suicidal thoughts.
  • Avoid statements that might be perceived as minimizing the student’s emotional pain (e.g., “You need to move on." or "You should get over it.”).
  • Ask the student directly if they are thinking about suicide (i.e., "Are you thinking of suicide?").
  • Focus on your concern for their well-being and avoid being accusatory.
  • Reassure the student that there is help and they will not feel like this forever.
  • Provide constant supervision. Do not leave the student alone.
  • Without putting yourself in danger, remove means for self-harm, including any weapons the person might find.
  • Get help. Never agree to keep a student's suicidal thoughts a secret. Instead, school staff should take the student to a school-employed mental health professional. Parents should seek help from school or community mental health resources. Students should tell an appropriate caregiving adult, such as a school psychologist, administrator, parent, or teacher.

6. School or district officials should determine how to handle memorials after a student has died. Promote memorials that benefit others (e.g., donations for a suicide prevention program) and activities that foster a sense of hope and encourage positive action. The memorial should not glorify, highlight, or accentuate the individual’s death. It may lead to imitative behaviors or a suicide contagion (Brock et al., 2016).

7. Reinforcing resiliency factors can lessen the potential of risk factors that lead to suicidal ideation and behaviors. Once a child or adolescent is considered at risk, schools, families, and friends should work to build these factors in and around the youth.

  • Family support and cohesion, including good communication.
  • Peer support and close social networks.
  • School and community connectedness.
  • Cultural or religious beliefs that discourage suicide and promote healthy living.
  • Adaptive coping and problem-solving skills, including conflict resolution.
  • General life satisfaction, good self-esteem, and a sense of purpose.
  • Easy access to effective medical and mental health resources.

8. Strive to ensure that all student spaces on campus are monitored and that the school environment is truly safe, supportive, and free of bullying.

9. If additional guidance is needed, ask for support from your building- or district-level crisis team. The team may be able to assist with addressing unique situations affecting your building.

See Preventing Suicide: Guidelines for Administrators and Crisis Teams for additional guidance.

Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE) and the JED Foundation have created talking points for conversations with youth specific to the 13 Reasons Why series, available online.

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.

See Preventing Youth Suicide Brief Facts (also available in Spanish) and Preventing Youth Suicide: Tips or Parents and Educators for additional information.

Safe Messaging for Students

1. Suicide is never a solution. It is an irreversible choice regarding a temporary problem. There is help. If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide or know someone who is, talk to a trusted adult, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or text “START” to 741741.

2. Don't be afraid to talk to your friends about how they feel and let them know you care about them.

3. Be an “upstander” and take actions to reduce bullying and increase positive connections among others. Report concerns.

4. Never promise to keep secret behaviors that represent a danger toward another person.

5. Suicide is preventable. People considering suicide typically say something or do something that is a warning sign. Always take warning signs seriously and know the warning signs.

  • Suicide threats, both direct ("I am going to kill myself.") and indirect ("I wish I could fall asleep and never wake up."). Can be verbal, written, or posted online.
  • Suicide notes and planning, including online postings.
  • Preoccupation with death in conversation, writing, drawing, and social media.
  • Changes in behavior, appearance/hygiene, thoughts, and/or feelings.
  • Emotional distress.

6. Separate myths and facts.

  • MYTH: Talking about suicide will make someone choose death by suicide who has never thought about it before. FACT: There is no evidence to suggest that talking about suicide plants the idea. Talking with your friend about how they feel and letting them know that you care about them is important. This is the first step in getting your friend help.
  • MYTH: People who struggle with depression or other mental illness are just weak. FACT: Depression and other mental illnesses are serious health conditions and are treatable.
  • MYTH: People who talk about suicide won't really do it. FACT: People, particularly young people who are thinking about suicide, typically demonstrate warning signs. Always take these warning signs seriously.

7. Never leave the person alone; seek out a trusted adult immediately. School-employed mental health professionals like your school psychologist are trusted sources of help.

8. Work with other students and the adults in the school if you want to develop a memorial for someone who has died by suicide. Although decorating a student’s locker, creating a memorial social media page, or other similar activities are quick ways to remember the student who has died, they may influence others to imitate or have thoughts of wanting to die as well. It is recommended that schools develop memorial activities that encourage hope and promote positive outcomes for others (e.g., suicide prevention programs).

Read these helpful points from SAVE.org and the JED Foundation to further understand how 13 Reasons Why dramatizes situations and the realities of suicide. See Save a Friend: Tips for Teens to Prevent Suicide for additional information.

Additional Resources

National Suicide Prevention Hotline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or text "SOS" to 741741

Center for Disease Control Suicide Datasheet

SAMHSA Prevention Suicide: A Toolkit for High Schools

Suicide Prevention Resource Center, After a Suicide: Toolkit for Schools


National Association of School Psychologists, www.nasponline.org "13 Reasons Why Netflix Series; Considerations for Educators" PDF at http://bit.ly/2qNDWhe

American Association of Suicidology, www.suicidology.org

Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, www.save.org

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, https://afsp.org/


Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, www.rainn.org


Brock, S. E., Nickerson, A. B., Louvar Reeves, M. A., Conolly, C., Jimerson, S., Pesce, R, & Lazarro, B. (2016). School crisis prevention and intervention: The PREPaRE model (2nd ed.). Bethesda, MD: National Association of School Psychologists.

Contributors: Christina Conolly, Kathy Cowan, Peter Faustino, Ben Fernandez, Stephen Brock, Melissa Reeves, Rich Lieberman

National Association of School Psychologists. (2017). 13 Reasons Why Netflix series: Considerations for educators [handout]. Bethesda, MD: Author.
Source: www.nasponline.org/resources-and-publications/resources/school-safety-and-crisis/preventing-youth-suicide/13-reasons-why-netflix-series-considerations-for-educators

“13 Reasons Why” Netflix Series: How School Counselors Can Help

The teenage years are typically marked by turbulent emotions and stress. The Netflix series “13 Reasons Why” has highlighted the impact and consequences when friends, parents, teachers and school counselors aren’t aware of or don’t know how to intervene when a student needs help.

Often mental health struggles come to light only in the public extremes, when an outburst or tragic event or television show forces us to stop and ask “Why?” Because it is not a physical disability but one involving brain chemistry, mental illness is often a private struggle that hides in the corners of our school hallways.

Educating students, staff members and parents about mental health issues is critical to the work of school counselors. School counselors know students who struggle socially and emotionally are vulnerable to academic failure. Instinctively, others know this as well but often don’t have the tools they need or know school counselors can provide to help.

School counselors have specific training to recognize warning signs, such as:

  • changes in school performance (e.g. grades, attendance)
  • changes in mood
  • complaints of illness
  • withdrawal
  • increased disciplinary problems at school
  • problems experienced at home or family situations (stress, trauma, divorce, substance abuse, poverty, domestic violence)
  • communication from teachers about problems at school
  • difficulty dealing with existing mental health concerns
What School Staff Members Need to Know

About Issues From “13 Reasons Why”

Warning signs – Educate school staff about the social/emotional concerns of students and the warning signs of bullying, sexual assault, other forms of violence, anxiety, stress, depression and suicidal ideation. Include recognition that environmental factors at school or home may cause or exacerbate a student’s issues.

Where to go for help – Ensure all staff know to which school staff they should report concerns about students or staff (school counselors, social workers, psychologists, administrators, etc.).

Emphasize the importance of sharing concerns early before a serious issue arises.

How to reduce or eliminate stigma – Provide strategies school staff can use to help them recognize and eliminate stigma related to bullying, sexual assault and mental health issues. Also, provide information in classrooms, the main office and throughout school facilities about social services available to students.

What Parents Need to Know About Issues From "13 Reasons Why"

Warning signs – Share information with parents about the warning signs of bullying, sexual assault, other forms of violence, anxiety, stress, depression and suicidal ideation. Include recognition that environmental factors at school or home may cause or exacerbate social/emotional or mental health issues.

School resources – Let parents know school counselors and other school staff always are resources to collaborate with on these types of issues. Reinforce that the goal is to help all students achieve success.

Community resources – Publicize community resources for additional assistance including individuals and organizations that provide support for those experiencing grief, victims of sexual assault and treatment of mental health issues including suicidal ideation and depression.

For parents who may want to watch the series first and determine if it is right for other family members on their account to view, a title-level PIN code can be added. Learn more.

What Students Need to Know About Issues From "13 Reasons Why"

Warning signs – Share information with students about the warning signs of bullying, sexual assault, anxiety, stress, other forms of violence, depression and suicidal ideation. Emphasize that these signs should not be treated lightly, and they should let a trusted adult know immediately if they have concerns about themselves or others.

School resources – Provide information about behaviors and situations that create toxic school environments (bullying, sexual assault, violence, etc.). Let students know school counselors and other school staff are there to help. If they have any concerns about themselves or others, they should tell a teacher, school counselor or other trusted adult immediately.

Talk with parents/guardians – Encourage students to discuss concerns about themselves or others with their parents/guardians. If a student is reluctant to talk with a parent, help the student prepare to have the discussion.

View a webinar presented by ASCA, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the National Association of School Psychologists on using "13 Reasons Why" as a teachable moment.

Download handouts:

ASCA: How to Support Your School Community (Students, Families and Staff)

ASCA: How to Address Issues Using a Comprehensive School Counseling Programs

AFSP handout Must read!

NASP handout

Additional Resources

The Role of the School Counselor

ASCA Position Statement: The School Counselor and Student Mental Health

ASCA Position Statement: The School Counselor and Trauma-­-Informed Practice

ASCA Position Statement: The School Counselor and the Identification, Prevention and Intervention of Behaviors That Are Harmful and Place Students At-Risk

ASCA Position Statement: The School Counselor and the Promotion of Safe Schools Through Conflict Resolution and Bullying/Harassment Prevention

13 Reasons Why Resources, Netflix (2018)

Season 1 Trailer 1:58

Beyond The Reasons 29:05 (PR to excuse the way they addressed the issue. Doesn't bother that it triggers many copy cat suicides.


Find additional support and services through these resources and advocacy organizations:

Suicide prevention: Find Help American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (Talk Saves Lives VIDEO 1:23)

LGBTQ youth suicide prevention & crisis intervention: The Trevor Project

Suicide prevention advocacy: American Association of Suicidology

Sexual assault: RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network)

Depression: National Institute for Mental Health

Anxiety: Anxiety and Depression Association of America

Substance abuse prevention and education: DARE

Drug abuse and addiction: National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens

Alcohol abuse: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Bullying: StopBullying.gov

School Counselors: American School Counselors Association

Mental Health: Mental Health America

Keeping the Conversation Going, Netflix (2018) May, 2018 Press Release from Neetflix Media Center

Depression Resource Brochure (13 page PDF)

Model School District Policy on Suicide Prevention: Model Language, Commentary and Resources

13 Minutes of 13 Reasons Why, ASCA School Counselor (2017)

Self-Esteem in a Social Media World, ASCA School Counselor (2017) 5 page PDF

Lead Mental Health Efforts, ASCA School Counselor (2014)

Students With Depression: Help Them Find Their Way Out , ASCA School Counselor (2014) 5 page PDF

Suicide: Err on the Side of Caution, ASCA School Counselor (2013)

Student Suicide: Legal and Ethical Implications, ASCA School Counselor (2012) Broken

Mental health surveillance among children – United States, 2005-­-2011, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2010).

Erickson, A., & Abel, N. R. (2013). A high school counselor’s leadership in providing schoolwide screenings for depression and enhancing suicide awareness. Professional School Counseling, 16(5), 283-­-289. doi: 10.5330/psc.n.2013-­-16.283 7 page PDF

Coalition to Support Grieving Students

Foundation for the Advancement of Alcohol Responsibility

National Sexual Violence Resource Center

The National Center for Victims of Crime

CDC Fact Sheet on Underage Drinking
Source: www.schoolcounselor.org/school-counselors/professional-development/learn-more/13-reasons-why-resources


Keeping the Conversation Going: An Update on 13 Reasons Why

March 21, 2018, we added additional resources to support our viewers for the upcoming season of 13 Reasons Why. From the beginning we believed this series had the potential to be a powerful agent for change, and we saw a global conversation emerge with the launch of Season 1. The following tools and resources will be available when Season 2 launches on May 18:

A 13 Reasons Why Discussion Series is a set of videos starring cast members out of character addressing various topics depicted in the show. The discussion series will be available in the Netflix “Trailers and More” section and on 13ReasonsWhy.Info when the second season launches. The series includes:
Talking with Your Teen About 13 Reasons Why

Spotting Signs of Depression

Understanding Consent

Talking to Someone About Alcohol and Drug Abuse

The Many Forms of Bullying

Taking Signs of Potential Harm Seriously

A new Beyond the Reasons after show featuring actors including Dylan Minnette (Clay), Alisha Boe (Jessica), Kate Walsh (Mrs. Baker) and Miles Heizer (Alex) along with experts in fields of suicide prevention, sexual assault and more will play automatically after the last episode of Season 2 (213).

An updated downloadable 13 Reasons Why Discussion Guide (10 page PDF) , available at 13ReasonsWhy.Info, which includes tips for parents and teens on how to start conversations or help those who might be struggling with issues depicted in the series.

More resources from expert organizations around the world for many of the issues in the series available at 13ReasonsWhy.Info.

Additionally, a variety of tools and features will continue to be available:

The custom intro video featuring the cast out of character talking about resources will play automatically before each season.

An enhanced content advisory with more specific information about the show's rating appears each time you begin to watch.

For parents who may want to watch the series first and determine if it is right for others on their account to view, a title-level PIN code can be added. More on this feature and how to activate it can be found here.

Brian Wright

Vice President of Original Series

Source: media.netflix.com/en/company-blog/keeping-the-conversation-going-an-update-on-13-reasons-why

MICHIGAN: Oxford High School Students Begin Project Called “13 Reasons Why Not”

In response to the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, a group of Michigan teens have launched a project called 13 Reasons Why Not. While the main character in the series provides her explanations for wanting to die, students at Oxford High School are voicing their motivations for wanting to live. Every morning for 13 days, the school will hear a recording of a student describe a challenge that they have struggled with, and thank a classmate who has helped them cope. Oxford Dean Pam Fine said that she developed the project to counter the depiction of suicide as inevitable. “The idea was to come up with 13 reasons why not, because that was not portrayed in the show. . . . Even though it can get very dark, there is always hope. Our message is that there are no 13 reasons why. Suicide is not an option.”
Source: www.sprc.org/news/michigan-oxford-high-school-students-begin-project-called-%E2%80%9C13-reasons-why-not%E2%80%9D

Health officials urge parents and families to talk about suicide and emotional distress

A variety of resources and tips are available for discussing mental health and emotional well-being.

With a recent increase in public awareness related to suicide and mental health, Oregon health officials are reminding parents and families about resources and information available for reaching out to loved ones.

“Parents and health care providers know that television shows, popular movies and other entertainment can have a strong influence on young peopl?e’s thinking and behavior, and may cause some children and teens to think or talk about suicide,” said Ann Kirkwood, the Oregon Health Authority’s suicide intervention coordinator. “It’s critical that parents and health care providers help kids cope by talking openly and honestly about their thoughts and feelings, about what they’re watching, and watch for signs of distress.”

Mental health experts have recently noted conversations with a range of Oregon youth, who after watching the popular Netflix series called “13 Reasons Why” had specific questions about emotional distress, trauma and where to turn for help and support. While the series seeks to capture the agonizing challenges of trauma, bullying and suicide, there are a number of opportunities for providing additional information and helping Oregonians know where to turn in the case of distress and thoughts of suicide.

“While these shows may be fictional, they depict traumatic events in the life of a child, and may represent incorrect notions about the psychology behind suicide,” said Ajit Jetmalani, M.D. "There’s also often a lack of suicide prevention advice or hotline information, which we want to provide and make sure that individuals of all ages know where to turn for information and help.” Dr. Jetmalani is professor of psychiatry and head of the division of child and adolescent psychiatry at Oregon Health & Science University's School of Medicine, Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.

Talking openly and honestly––without judgement––about emotional distress and suicide is strongly encouraged to promote an open and honest conversation. Often if a child or individual is suicidal, they are relieved and appreciative that someone would care enough to approach them about the subject.

“We know that some of the youth calling our support lines are impacted by what they’re seeing on TV,” said Emily Moser, Lines for Life’s YouthLine program director. “Youth need support from parents and other trusted adults to process the difficult topics depicted on TV and to understand the implications of certain choices. We all have a role to play in helping reinforce in our communities that suicide is not the answer to problems and that reaching out to a trusted adult, friend, or crisis line makes an enormous difference in almost every potentially suicidal situation.”?

Even though suicide is not a common response to a majority of trauma and emotional distress, parents, and behavioral and physical health providers should also watch for warning signs of distress or suicidal activity and intervene immediately as necessary. A number of resources are available through trusted adults, school counseling resources, friends or mental health providers.

A few key warning signs for suicidal thoughts in youth and others include:

  • Talking about wanting to die, being dead or about suicide.
  • Cutting, burning or causing physical harm to the body.
  • Feelings of loss, lack of hope, despair, or a deep feeling of something being “wrong.”
  • Withdrawing from friends, family and activities.
  • Becoming more worried or on edge, or seeming unusually angry or not their normal selves.

Parents and families can approach the subject in a number of ways by providing open-ended questions and starting a conversation through a few examples listed below:

  • You’ve likely seen suicide mentioned on TV and in the media. What do you think about it and how does it make you feel?
  • Some conversations on TV suggest that adults in a teenager’s life don’t care about their emotional challenges. Do you feel there people in your life you can turn to whom you trust?
  • Do you know about the suicide warning signs in case you feel this way or have friends or classmates who do?
  • Is there anything you’re concerned about now in your own life? A friend or someone that you know? How are you feeling or is there anything that you’re upset by?

Reiterate how much you care. Feeling suicidal is a sign that you need to reach out to others. Please know that if you’re ever feeling that way, know that we will figure out what to do together.

For more information and resources, please contact:

Lines for Life – Resource for prevention tips and resources at www.linesforlife.org/ Teens can text with a peer by texting 839863 or call 877-968-8491.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – A confidential service for adults or youth who are in crisis or know someone who is, at 800-273-8255 (TALK) or chat is available at: suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Crisis Text Line - A national, 24/7, confidential, text service for adults or youth who are currently in and kind of crisis to text with a consultant trained in texting and suicide prevention. Text 741741 SOS

The Trevor Project – Provides crisis intervention for LGBTQ youth at 866-488-7386 or text “Trevor” to 202-304-1200 (available Tuesday-Friday between noon and 6 p.m. Pacific time) or at www.thetrevorproject.org/

Veterans Crisis Line – Confidential help for veterans and their families, 800-273-8255 or www.veteranscrisisline.net/
Source: www.oregon.gov/oha/news/Pages/Health%20officials%20urge%20parents%20and%20families%20to%20talk%20about%20suicide%20and%20emotional%20distress.aspx

Save a Friend: Tips for Teens to Prevent Suicide

Feeling hopeless, helpless, or depressed can result in extreme emotional pain and desperation. Sometimes these feelings result in thoughts of suicide, but it is important to let the person with these thoughts know that 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.

Suicide rarely happens without warning. As a peer, you may be in the best position to recognize when a friend might need help and help them get it. You may see signs in person, hear about them secondhand, or see them online in social media. Never ignore these signs.While suicide is typically associated with the pain of mental illness (in particular depression and associated feelings of helplessness and hopelessness), there are sometimes specific situations that trigger suicidal actions such as breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend, failing in school, being bullied, or experiencing abuse, loss or other trauma. It is important to learn these warning signs and what to do if you see any them in yourself or a friend. Suicide is preventable. By listening, talking, and acting you could save a life.

Suicide Warning Signs

1. Suicide notes. These are a very real sign of danger and should ALWAYS be taken seriously.

2. Threats. Threats may be direct statements ("I want to die." "I am going to kill myself.") or indirect comments ("The world would be better without me." "Nobody will miss me anyway."). Teenagers might make indirect threats by joking, comments in school assignments like particularly creative writing or artwork, or online through social media. Younger children and those who may have some delays in their development may not be able to express their feelings in words, but may provide indirect clues in the form of acting-out through violent behavior.

3. Previous attempts. If someone has attempted suicide in the past, they are more likely to try again. Be very observant of any friends who have tried suicide before (especially those who have recently attempted suicide).

4. Depression. When symptoms of depression include strong thoughts of helplessness and hopelessness, a child or adolescent is possibly at greater risk for suicide. Watch out for behaviors, comments or posts that indicate that your friend is feeling overwhelmed by sadness or pessimistic views of their future.

5. "Masked" depression. Sometimes risk-taking behaviors can include acts of aggression, gunplay, and alcohol/substance abuse. While your friend may not act "depressed," their behavior can suggest that they do not care about their own safety.

6. Final arrangements. This behavior may take many forms. In adolescents, it might be saying goodbye to friends, giving away prized possessions, or deleting profiles, pictures or posts online.

7. Hurting oneself. Self-injury behaviors are warning signs for young children as well as teenagers. Common self-destructive behaviors include running into traffic, jumping from heights, and scratching/cutting/marking the body.

8. Inability to concentrate or think clearly. If a friend is going through tough times, this may be reflected through classroom behavior, homework habits, academic performance, household chores, or even conversation. If they start skipping classes, getting poor grades, acting up in class, forgetting or poorly performing chores around the house or talking in a way that suggests they are having trouble concentrating, these might be signs of stress and risk for suicide.

9. Dramatic Changes. Parents, teachers and friends are often the best observers of sudden changes in suicidal students. Changes can include withdrawing from friends and family, skipping school or classes, becoming less involved in activities that were once important, avoiding others, inability to sleep or sleeping all the time, sudden weight gain or loss, disinterest in appearance or hygiene. Sudden unexplained happiness (after a prolonged period of sadness) can also be a suicide warning sign.

10. Plan/method/access. A suicidal child or adolescent may show an increased interest in guns and other weapons, may seem to have increased access to guns, pills, etc., and/or may talk about or hint at a suicide plan. The greater the planning, the greater the potential for suicide.

What Can You Do to Help a Friend?

1. Know the warning signs! Read over the list above and keep it in a safe place.

2. Do not be afraid to talk to your friends. Listen to their feelings. Make sure they know how important they are to you, but don't believe you can keep them from hurting themselves on your own. Preventing suicide will require help from adults.

3. Make no deals. Never keep secret a friend's suicidal plans or thoughts. You cannot promise that you will not tell-you have to tell to save your friend!

4. Tell an adult. Talk to your parent, your friend's parent, your school's psychologist or counselor-- any trusted adult. Don't wait! Don't be afraid that the adults will not believe you or take you seriously-keep talking until they listen! Even if you are not sure your friend is suicidal, talk to someone. This is definitely the time to be safe, not sorry!

5. Ask if your school has a crisis team. Many schools have organized crisis teams, which include teachers, counselors, social workers, school psychologists and principals. These teams help train all staff to recognize warning signs of suicide as well as how to help in a crisis situation. These teams can also help students understand warning signs of violence and suicide. Whether or not you think someone at your school might be suicidal, find out if your school has a crisis team in place. If your school does not have a crisis team, ask your Student Council or faculty advisor to look into starting a team.
Source: www.nasponline.org/resources-and-publications/resources/school-safety-and-crisis/preventing-youth-suicide/save-a-friend-tips-for-teens-to-prevent-suicide

American Association of Suicidology Responds to ‘13 Reasons Why’

Suicide is preventable and depression is treatable. Since the release of the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why” (13RW), there has been a significant uptick in reports from mental health professionals that teen viewers are being negatively impacted, evidenced by increases in emergency department visits and hospitalizations.

Over 120 Americans die from suicide daily; 15 of them are young people between the ages of 15 and 24 (Drapeau & McIntosh, 2016). Direct, non-judgmental conversations with youth about mental health, suicide, hope, and recovery have positive effects that last throughout the lifespan. Every community member can save a life. The suicide prevention community needs the media to spread this message to protect the lives of young people in the U.S.

13RW highlights many challenging situations students often experience during their educational careers, including loss of romantic relationships, sexual assault, bullying, and suicide. This presents an opportunity for parents to examine how schools handle their policies regarding mental health and suicide prevention/postvention in their districts (if at all). The new book Suicide in Schools (Erbacher et. al) is an easy-to-read, comprehensive, critical resource that can be utilized to develop programs, policies, and procedures to prepare and improve school systems across the country. The effects of the series also shine a spotlight on the importance of communication within family groups. Suicide and self-harm are a prevalent theme in pop culture and on social media. It is important for parents and guardians to have open, reciprocal dialogue with their children about it. Talk to your children about their challenges, take care not to conflate them with their issues; better outcomes are associated with teens who receive emotional support focusing on the complexity of interactions they may be experiencing. As parents or guardians, take the time to learn about your local resources. Crisis call centers can provide additional, outside support and are typically available 24/7. You can find your local National Suicide

Prevention Lifeline Network crisis center here - suicidepreventionlifeline.org/our-network/

AAS Board members have been in contact with Netflix, urging them to develop additional warnings before each episode to share relevant crisis and intervention services. If you are a Netflix subscriber, we urge you to contact them via phone or their live chat feature and request they add these warnings. Their support phone is 1 (866) 579-7172 or email the CEO of Netflix Reed Hastings: reed.hastings@netflix.com

In 2017, AAS and its membership are working to develop further inroads with various entertainment industry stakeholders to collaborate more openly on messaging surrounding suicide, crisis and self harm in a manner that is more beneficial to the public and practical for writers and performers. By working together can we address this in realistic, effective, and appropriate ways.


National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 800-273-8255; suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Safety Planning App - my3app.org

Crisis Text Line - Text SOS to 741741; crisistextline.org

Trevor Project - 866-488-7386; trevorproject.org

Trans Lifeline - 877-565-8860; translifeline.org



About AAS: Founded in 1968 by Edwin S. Shneidman, PhD, AAS promotes suicide as a research discipline, public awareness programs, public education and training for professionals and volunteers.

The membership of AAS includes mental health and public health professionals, researchers, suicide prevention and crisis intervention centers, school districts, crisis center volunteers, survivors of suicide loss, attempt survivors, and a variety of lay persons who have in interest in suicide prevention. You can learn more about AAS at suicidology.org. In honor of those who have died from suicide, or in the service of the families and communities grieving a loss, consider making a donation to the American Association of Suicidology here
Source: http://www.suicidology.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=CsnSoL_Snas%3d&portalid=14

'13 Reasons Why' faces backlash from suicide prevention advocacy group

A suicide prevention advocacy group is speaking out about the new Netflix original series "13 Reasons Why," saying that the show — a teen drama centered on a high school student who kills herself — could do "more harm than any good."

The show, based on a young adult novel of the same name and co-produced by Selena Gomez, revolves around 17-year-old Hannah Baker, who takes her own life and leaves behind audio recordings for 13 people who she says were part of shy she killed herself.

"There is a great concern that I have ... that young people are going to overidentify with Hannah in the series and we actually may see more suicides as a result of this television series," said Dan Reidenberg, the executive director for Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, a nonprofit group with the mission of suicide prevention.

"I've heard from others that are really concerned because its so sensational and so graphic that they're worried about the copycat effect of suicide," he added.

Kate Walsh talks about '13 Reasons Why'

Inside '13 Reasons Why,' the Netflix show that tackles teen suicide

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among those ages 15 to 34, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"The way things are portrayed in the media does have an effect on the way suicides can happen. This is particularly true for young people that are very vulnerable and at risk of suicide," Reidenberg said. "When they're exposed to images that are really graphic, really sensational, and there is nothing balancing out for them ... that they can get help and that treatment works and recovery is possible ... we see them actually replaying what they've seen."

"The show actually doesn't present a viable alternative to suicide. The show doesn't talk about mental illness or depression, doesn't name those words," he added. "My thoughts about the series are that its probably done more harm than any good."

SAVE partnered with another suicide prevention group, the Jed Foundation, to provide tips for viewing "13 Reasons Why" and talking points for parents and teachers discussing suicide with young people.

Child psychologist Janet Taylor said she applauds Gomez for addressing mental health issues on the show.

"I think we don't talk enough when things aren't going well," she said on ABC's "Good Morning America." "I had one patient say, 'I have to be perfect because I'm so flawed.' Where did she get that?

"We have to break the silence, talk to our parents, talk to counselors," she added. "If you have a family history of mental illness, be aware of it, talk to your children. If your child makes a threat about wanting to hurt themselves, take it seriously."

Producers for the show said they hope the series can help those who may be struggling with thoughts of suicide.

"We wanted to do it in a way where it was honest, and we wanted to make something that can, hopefully, help people, because suicide should never, ever be an option," Gomez said in "Beyond the Reasons," a video released by Netflix to accompany the series.

Co-producer Brian Yorkey added that the show's creators "worked very hard not to be gratuitous, but we did want it to be painful to watch, because we wanted it to be very clear that there is nothing, in any way, worthwhile about suicide."

Jay Asher, the author of the book "13 Reasons Why," said, "Suicide is an uncomfortable thing to talk about, but it happens, and so we have to talk about it."

"It's dangerous not to talk about it, because there is always room for help," he added in "Beyond the Reasons."

Members of the production team said they consulted with mental health professionals extensively while making the series and provide suicide prevention resources and information on crisis hotlines in more than 35 countries on the website 13ReasonsWhy.info.

Daniel Feinberg, a television critic for The Hollywood Reporter, told ABC News that the show definitely "demands conversation."

"The show is about how if we don't treat each other better, if we don't have conversations, if we don't communicate, horrible things happen," he said. "People end up feeling alone, and people end up feeling hurt, and then when people feel alone and hurt, that's when they do things like this."
Source: http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/13-reasons-faces-backlash-suicide-prevention-advocacy-groups/story?id=46851551

How should parents broach the subject of suicide with their kids?

Koplewicz: Mental health conversations should be brought up at a Friday night or a Sunday dinner — a family conversation — and not once; it’s an ongoing dialogue. The conversation is that mental health disorders are real, common and very treatable.

The “Speak Up For Kids campaign features celebrities like Emma Stone talking about their personal mental health challenges.

You can say: “If someone like that could suffer, get help and do better, that means we should all think about the fact that our brain is also an organ and it can be affected and therefore we need to get help. There’s nothing to be ashamed about, in the same way we’re not ashamed about having kidney problems or heart problems.”

A suicide talk is very different. It would be stimulated by this TV program, a public suicide or if someone you know took their life

You can say: “Someone was in so much pain — their brain was misguiding them, giving them the wrong messages and, unfortunately, they didn’t get the help they needed. If they would have gotten help, they would be alive today. There’s so much help for treating people who have depression or anxiety.”

“As a parent, I always want you to know that no matter how bad you think things are, I’m always here to help you.”

If you or someone you know needs help, please text 741741 or call 911 or call the National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255 anytime. For international resources, including hotlines in every country and more information, please check out this Crisis Information page created by Netflix.
Source: www.today.com/parents/13-reasons-why-psychiatrist-calls-netflix-pull-series-t110934?cid=sm_npd_td_fb_ma

13 Reasons Why’s Controversial Depiction of Teen Suicide Has School Counselors Picking Up the Pieces

It’s been over a month since 13 Reasons Why made its debut on Netflix, but the discussion around the teen drama shows no signs of dying down. The 13-episode series, based on the young adult novel by Jay Asher, has been tweeted about more than 11 million times since March 30, more than any other show in 2017, and a second season now seems all but assured. 13 Reasons, which is narrated by Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford), a high school student who kills herself and leaves behind a series of cassette tapes singling out the people she considers responsible for her decision, has been critically acclaimed for its compelling performances and received praise for its unflinching take on bullying, assault, and the ripple effect of small, seemingly minor actions on the teenage psyche. It has also been lauded for “starting a conversation” about suicide, which is the second leading cause of death among teens.

But the premise of the show, which treats Hannah’s death as something caused by the actions of other people, ranging from the ex-friend who blamed her for a breakup to the senior who sexually assaulted her, goes against everything we know about suicide, its causes, and means of prevention. It places the responsibility for a person's suicide on the survivors of suicide loss, creates a false illusion that a suicidal person can be in control after her death, and offers up no alternatives for Hannah besides killing herself. Paired with a graphic depiction of the act itself and the show’s wild popularity, 13 Reasons Why now has mental health advocates and suicide prevention organizations doing damage control.

13 Reasons Why flouts the established guidelines for depicting suicide, including the widely accepted Recommendations for Reporting on Suicide, which exist to reduce the likelihood of suicide contagion, or “copycat suicides.” While the recommendations are geared more toward media coverage than fictional portrayals, they use data from more than 50 studies showing that certain ways of depicting suicide can present a risk of contagion. For example, coverage that sensationalizes or glamorizes suicide, that shows grieving loved ones or memorials, or that explicitly describes the suicide method can be dangerous to people who are already at risk.

13 Reasons breaks several of these rules, but its most talked-about departure is a scene in the show’s 13th and final episode, in which Hannah’s suicide is shown in graphic detail. In a deeply personal essay for Vanity Fair, Nic Sheff, a writer for the series, said that the scene was included “to dispel the myth of the quiet drifting off” and recalled how he once changed his mind about killing himself while remembering another survivor’s account of her own suicide attempt. But it’s critical to remember that Sheff’s essay, while emotionally compelling, is based on a single example—his own—and his claim that it would be “irresponsible” not to show the suicide is contradicted by numerous studies showing the harm that exposure to graphic depictions of suicide can do.

“Research indicates a vivid description, real or fictional, of a suicide can contribute to and perpetuate sensationalism and glorification, which may lead to copycat suicide behaviors or contagion,” said Phyllis Alongi, the clinical director of the Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide and a licensed professional counselor. Alongi also identified other problems with the show, including a scene in which students take selfies in front of a memorial on Hannah’s locker, as well as the series’ failure to meaningfully address mental illness, which plays a role in 90 percent of suicides. A set of “considerations” about 13 Reasons Why created by the National Association of School Psychologists recommends that vulnerable youth not watch the show, as “its powerful storytelling may lead impressionable viewers to romanticize the choices made by the characters and/or develop revenge fantasies.” It also emphasizes that people do not turn to suicide simply because they have been bullied; rather, it is typically the result of a combination of “treatable mental illness and overwhelming or intolerable stressors” and a lack of adequate coping mechanisms. Even the notion that a suicide could have been prevented by “loving someone back to life”—or at least trying, as the show suggests—can be damaging to survivors of suicide loss, who may already experience guilt.

13 Reasons’ creators seem at least passingly aware of the gravity of the issues the series presents. Its release on Netflix was accompanied by half-hour documentary, Beyond the Reasons, which refers viewers to a website with helpline information and features commentary from mental health professionals, actors, and producers. In the documentary, executive producer Tom McCarthy explains, “At the end of the day, we’re telling stories. We’re storytellers, and our job, probably more than anything, is to entertain. But when you get a piece of material like this that’s actually about something? You take that seriously and you really hope the discussion begins and will continue.” Sheff echoed that sentiment in his Vanity Fair piece: “I’m proud to be a part of a television series that is forcing us to have these conversations, because silence really does equal death. We need to keep talking, keep sharing, and keep showing the realities of what teens in our society are dealing with every day. To do anything else would be not only irresponsible, but dangerous.” One of the show’s stars, Kate Walsh, said she thinks it should be “mandatory in schools.”

If the goal was just to get people talking, then 13 Reasons Why has succeeded, although having school districts around the country issue letters to parents cautioning them about the potential risks of letting their children watch was presumably not what its creators had in mind. At least one superintendent has even reported an increase in at-risk behavior in his district, including acts of self-harm and threats of suicide, with the students involved citing 13 Reasons Why while discussing their behavior. In light of the backlash, Netflix released a statement to ABC News defending the series by pointing to its TV-MA rating, content warnings that precede three of the episodes, and the accompanying documentary and website, writing that, “Our members tell us that 13 Reasons Why has helped spark important conversations in their families and communities around the world.” (Update, May 1, 12:55 p.m.: Buzzfeed reports that Netflix plans to update its existing content warnings with stronger language and links to the show's resource website, as well as include an additional warning before the first episode “as an extra precaution for those about to start the series.” The changes are expected to take effect as early as this week.)

Of course people are talking about 13 Reasons Why—it would be irresponsible for parents and educators to let the show’s messaging stand on its own.

It’s understandable why the people involved in the show might think that starting any kind of conversation about suicide would be a good thing, considering that the topic is so often stigmatized. But the dicussions we are having now are focused on the way that the show, as it stands alone, could do more harm than good by ignoring established messaging guidelines and presenting an unrealistic and romanticized portrait of a teenager in crisis. Of course people are talking about the series—it would be irresponsible for parents and educators to let the show’s messaging stand on its own. 13 Reasons Why dropped a bombshell into homes and schools, and it now has mental health and suicide prevention professionals doing damage control. More often than not, school counselors are the ones picking up the pieces.

* * *

The Jed Foundation, which focuses on preventing suicide in teens and young adults, received an invitation to preview 13 Reasons Why before its public debut and give feedback, with the added possibility that the foundation might even consider promoting the show. (While Netflix consulted other mental health professionals during the making of 13 Reasons, Jed was not approached until after production was complete.) But the foundation had reservations about how the show portrayed suicide, according to Jed’s clinical director, Victor Schwartz, who explained that while he believes the show’s producers intended to create a responsible, positive platform for discussing serious issues, there were several aspects that caused concern.

“There are some pretty well established messaging guidelines around media reporting around suicide, such as from the Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention,” said Schwartz. “[The guidelines] are maybe not so black and white in the context of fictional coverage, but it’s pretty clear that it’s not a good idea to be showing explicit, specific images of the suicide taking place. The more detailed and the more specific and lurid it is, in some ways, the more worrisome the content.”

Those concerns were serious enough that Jed partnered with Suicide Awareness Voice of Education to issue a set of suggested talking points timed to the show’s release and specifically aimed at parents, counselors, and educators. The talking points are careful to emphasize that 13 Reasons Why is intended as a cautionary tale, not a typical way of handling problems and to dispel specific narratives that the show might unintentionally reinforce. “With teens and even young adults, sometimes that line between fiction and reality can be somewhat blurred, especially with people struggling with mental health issues,” said Schwartz. “Given the fact that there are large numbers of young people watching it anyway, I think school counselors need to think about how to be prepared to talk about it.”

Phyllis Fagell, a school counselor at an independent K–8 school in Washington, D.C., was already familiar with the book through her own daughter, as well as from conversations she’d heard between middle schoolers. As a parent, she made sure to watch along. “Because there are graphic scenes—there is a suicide scene in it, a sexual assault scene—I’ve tried to be somewhat lurking in the vicinity, to be able to handle anything that came up.”

Fagell said that the show’s format, including Netflix’s decision to drop the entire season at once, can impact the way students are watching. “One of my students stayed up until 5 a.m. to watch all of it. A friend’s daughter watched one or two episodes a night, so she went through the whole series very quickly, all 13 episodes. I think it impacts kids differently when they’re seeing it so intensively like that, without a week off in between. There’s no reflection. They’re just going through it. And it’s a lot to digest for a kid that age.”

Alex Moen, a licensed school counselor who works with high schoolers in Minneapolis, shared her concerns about the entire storyline surrounding

Alex Moen, a licensed school counselor who works with high schoolers in Minneapolis, shared her concerns about the entire storyline surrounding Clay (Dylan Minnette), the show’s protagonist, who had a crush on Hannah and spends the duration of the show confronting the people she named on the tapes. While Moen thinks teenagers will be able to connect with the show’s portrayals of peer pressure, toxic masculinity, and slut-shaming, she criticized the basis of the story as “essentially a fantasy of what someone who is considering suicide might have—that once you commit suicide, you can still communicate with your loved ones, and people will suddenly realize everything that you were going through and the depth of your pain,” she said. “That the cute, sensitive boy will fall in love with you and seek justice for you, and you’ll be able to orchestrate it, and in so doing kind of still be able to live. Especially when you’re a teenager, your brain doesn’t do a very good job of reminding you of the truth that, in fact, you will be dead, and that’s really the only outcome that’s important.”

Anne Henry, a professional school counselor who works with both middle schoolers and high schoolers in Prince William County, Virginia, binge-watched the series in a week and has since had parents approach her for advice. “I’ve had people who’ve asked me, ‘My kid is watching this right now, what should I do?’ I'm not going to tell you to stop your child or teenager from watching it, but I think it’s important for you to be watching this, then, and for you to have conversations with your child about all sorts of things after this, talking about how it depicts suicide and challenging Hannah’s perspective and choices sometimes. And talking about mental health in there, because if the series isn’t going to mention it, it’s important for parents or anyone watching this series to have that discussion.”

A major problematic aspect of the show is its portrayal of the response Hannah receives when she actively seeks help from adults on two separate occasions, first, by submitting an anonymous note to her Peer Communications teacher, Mrs. Bradley (Keiko Agena), and then later in a sit-down with her school counselor, Mr. Porter (Derek Luke). The show’s editing deliberately undermines the possibility that Hannah might get help in the case of Mrs. Bradley—as she begins to list resources a student experiencing suicidal ideation might turn to, she is immediately drowned out by Hannah’s own narration, rendering that lesson useless for both character and audience. (Mrs. Bradley apparently never follows up on the note, even though it clearly shows that one of her students is in crisis.) The second interaction, with Mr. Porter, is even worse.

Unsurprisingly, the school counselors I spoke to had the strongest reactions to Mr. Porter, who is also the 13th “reason” identified on Hannah’s tapes and thus a major player in the show’s finale. The school’s overburdened and apparently only counselor, Mr. Porter seems somewhat mystified throughout the show by the problems faced by suburban high schoolers. He appears distracted and uncomfortable as Hannah reports that she has been assaulted and then fails to note the warning signs that she is considering suicide. “I went ‘ugh,’ as soon as I saw that,” said Henry.

Hannah never uses the word rape in their session, but what she’s describing can clearly be identified as one. “When a student is assaulted, I’m required to go to the police,” Mr. Porter tells her, “but I need to know exactly what happened and who did it.” And when she refuses to identify her assailant out of the fear of having to face him again, a troubling exchange follows:

MR PORTER: If you don’t want to give me a name, if you don’t want to press charges against this boy—if you’re not even sure you can press charges, then there really is only one option.

HANNAH: What is it?

MR PORTER: I’m not trying to be blunt here, Hannah, but you can move on.

HANNAH: You mean, do nothing?

MR PORTER: Is he in your class?

HANNAH: He’s a senior.

MR PORTER: That means he’ll be gone in a few months.

Moen found the depiction inaccurate and disappointing but not all that surprising. “I think counselors are used to being portrayed really poorly in media; almost any time you hear about a counselor in a movie, in a book, or whatever, they’re ineffective or they’re just terrible.” But in the case of Mr. Porter, she found his failure to be not just a moral failure but also unethical, unrealistic, and even legally dubious. “[School counselors] are mandated reporters, meaning that if we learn that someone has been harmed or may be harmed, we have a duty by law to report it. In the show, he kind of hints at this, but for some reason, the show has him saying that in order to go to the police, he would need all of the information. It’s ridiculous! Counselors are not police. We don’t have to launch an investigation. We bring whatever information we do have to the police or to parents or Child Protective Services, depending on the circumstances.”

“I think the depiction of Mr. Porter was a big disservice to the mission and the quality of school counseling.” Phyllis Alongi, clinical director of the Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide

Alongi says that depictions like these send the message to teenagers that adults, even mental health professionals, don’t know what to do in a crisis. “It looks like a dead end for someone who’s struggling, like, Oh yeah, that’s what happens when you go to a counselor. Which is not true. School counselors spend a bulk of their education and their time with their finger on the pulse of what’s going on with adolescents. I think that depiction of him was a big disservice to the mission and the quality of school counseling.” SPTS has been involved for years in ensuring that all educators, not just school counselors, are trained in recognizing the signs of suicidal ideation, providing extensive resources on their website and pushing for legislation that mandates suicide prevention training. 13 Reasons Why’s counselor, Alongi emphasizes, was written to be deliberately ineffective and does not represent a typical encounter. “I cringed when I saw that. It’s Hollywood, it’s not real, it’s fictional. We just need to keep reminding kids that, because school counselors really do care, and they know what to do.”

* * *

In spite of the backlash against 13 Reasons Why, counselors say that fiction can be a valuable asset for approaching discussions surrounding difficult subjects. Since students are already talking about the show, Fagell has used 13 Reasons Why as an informal tool to deal with some of its other themes, like bullying, and says that students often feel more comfortable approaching those discussions when they’re about fictional characters. “What a show does, what a book does, is it gives you an easy way to tackle very personal topics with some distance,” she said. “And it’s a launching point for kids to talk about something together.”

But when it comes to talking about depression and suicide specifically, Schwartz said that 13 Reasons Why has too much baggage to serve as a useful entry point. “There are better constructed, less complicated vehicles to use,” he said, suggesting HBO’s animated documentary My Depression as a possible alternative. When I asked counselors what other television shows or movies could be used to talk about issues that overlap with those of 13 Reasons, their answers ranged from the British series My Mad Fat Diary to The Edge of Seventeen to even Mean Girls.

Henry singled out The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which, like 13 Reasons Why, addresses mental health issues, sexuality, substance abuse, and suicide, “but does so in a way that has less potential for contagion and damage of trust,” she said. “It depicts a crisis of mental health as something extremely difficult but survivable with help, rather than leading to inevitable suicide and revenge. It’s so much more empowering in its tone.”

Alongi, for one, has plenty of suggestions for how 13 Reasons Why could improve its message for its now inevitable-seeming second season, after the first ended with multiple cliffhangers, including another student who tries to kill himself and the foreshadowing of a possible school shooting. For starters, Alongi suggested that the show model successful help-seeking behavior this time, as well as provide actual resources for help within the show (rather than in a separate documentary that kids might not even watch). She also recommended including a follow-up panel of experts discussing the issues addressed and debunking the “Hollywood” aspects.

In the meantime, she is seizing on the debate that 13 Reasons Why has started in order to steer that conversation in a healthier direction. “[Suicide] is the second leading cause of death ages 10 to 24. We know that in our lives, in a room of 10 people, someone has either been touched personally or professionally by suicide. It’s a sensitive subject, it’s a scary subject, and it’s not easy to talk about,” she said. “[13 Reasons Why] fell short of being the tool that it could have been, but we have to say, ‘It is what it is. It was not responsible, but let’s talk about what’s not responsible about it.’ I feel—I don’t want to say grateful, but teen suicide and suicide prevention need to be talked about. Prevention works and teen suicide prevention is everybody’s business.”

“So something like this, bringing it to the forefront again? OK. I’ll take it.”

If you need to talk, or if you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, text the Crisis Text Line at 741741 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273- 8255.

Marissa Martinelli is a Slate editorial assistant.
Source: www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2017/05/01/school_counselors_talk_netflix_s_controversial_teen_suicide_drama_13_reasons.html

How to talk with your teen about "13 Reasons Why"

Moms, dads and schools are grappling with how to talk with their kids about the popular new Netflix series "13 Reasons Why," the story of a suburban teen who dies by suicide and leaves behind 13 recordings for the people she says were the reasons she killed herself. The tapes encapsulate everything from betrayal to romantic relationships gone bad to bullying to sexual assault.

The show is graphic, culminating in fictional teen Hannah Baker's suicide scene in the last episode. It's rated M for mature viewers, but ask any high school student (and most middle school kids, too) and it's likely you'll hear they've watched it or heard all about it through friends and social media.

Some mental health professionals are warning that teens shouldn't view it, especially those struggling with depression or with a history of suicidal thoughts or behaviors, but it may be too late for some parents whose children have already watched on their own.

If your child has seen the show or is curious about it, Dr. Christine Moutier, chief medical officer of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has some advice: "Offer to watch it with them," Moutier told CBS News.

But she says it's not for every teen.

"I would watch it if your kid is in a solid state of mental health. If you have a kid who is struggling or is some years out from a mental health issue -- anyone who's had a suicide attempt or become suicidal -- they should just stay away from this show," Moutier said.

Kids with a genetic risk factor for depression or a family history of suicide are also vulnerable to the show's messaging and imagery, she said.

The mysterious nature of the series -- the viewer follows teenager Clay Jensen as he listens to each tape, uncovering bit by bit the story behind Hannah's decision to end her life -- may make it tempting to watch all 13 episodes in one fell swoop. But avoid binge-watching it, Moutier recommends.

"Approach it in a tiered way by watching one episode every so often. Binge-watching anything is just going to flood your brain," she said.

A mother of two teenagers, she said her own daughter was interested in seeing "13 Reasons Why."

"My daughter had already read the book before I knew anything about it," she said.

So they are watching it together. Knowing it had graphic sexual assault and suicide scenes, they agreed beforehand that they'd fast-forward through those parts.

"With my own daughter, she and I have already agreed we will figure out where those scenes are and not look at those," said Moutier.

Any teen who's experienced a sexual assault should avoid the show, she advised, saying, "Those scenes will be very triggering."

Parents should shore up their knowledge about suicide prevention before watching "13 Reasons" with their teen or talking about it with a child who has already seen it, so they're prepared to respond and answer questions. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention offers information online about risks factors, warning signs to watch out for, and where to find resources for support and treatment.

The Jed Foundation created a page specially tailored to the show with talking points that teens, parents, school counselors and mental health professionals can use to help them process the series' content with young viewers.

Heather Freed, the executive director of Erika's Lighthouse, a non-profit resource for depressed teens, told CBS Chicago that 12 school districts in the Chicago area have reached out to the group for help on how to talk with families about the program.

"I think a lot of people are afraid about what to do and doing the wrong thing," Freed told the station. So the group created a resource guide for schools and families to help them navigate the difficult emotions the program might stir up.

The best way to talk with your kids about what they think of the show and the topic of suicide is to listen first in a non-judgey way, Moutier said.

"Learn how to have a caring conversation. Don't do all the talking. Ask open-ended questions like 'What did you think of it?' Don't judge. And do not offer quick solutions or fixes. Listen, support, and if your child is talking about any level of stress, do not hesitate to ask them if they are having suicidal thoughts," Moutier said.

"Don't assume one way or another. If a teen will just start talking about their reactions to it, I think the parent might learn a lot about both what their child took away from the show as well as their own internal thoughts about it," she said.

If your child is having thoughts of suicide, you can reach out to a local chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, a national suicide organization or hotline. Most areas also have youth counseling services with experts in suicide prevention. Schools and churches can be a resource, as well.

"13 Reasons Why" has some danger points parents should be aware of, Moutier added. Some teens may take away a disturbing message that suicide is presented as an acceptable solution.

"When the person is glorified and has achieved getting a message out loud and clear after their death, when there is vengeance and blame involved, those all go down a path that detracts from the facts of suicide. To point fingers and blame really misleads the public," said Moutier, referring to the fictional tape recordings the character Hannah left behind, which figure into each of the 13 episodes.

Early in the show, Hannah's locker is decorated with photos and messages from other students memorializing her. At one point, two girls come by the locker, one saying how pretty Hannah was, and they take a selfie of themselves in front of it.

"From a population standpoint, we would be better off not to expose ourselves to messaging like this that is graphic, sensationalized or glorified suicide. It could raise the potential for copycats or clusters of suicides," Moutier said.

Experts on teen suicide advise schools to be cautious about the messaging they send after a child's suicide, including the monitoring of memorials and allowing kids to grieve and debrief before launching into suicide prevention activities.

The way adults are represented in "13 Reasons Why" ranges from generally clueless to unhelpful to out-and-out harmful, including the school counselor and parents. But Moutier said it's not true to real life when most kids who are suicidal reach out for help.

"There's been research that shows clearly that suicide risk goes down in youth when there is a strong belief that there are adults in their community who are supportive and trustworthy," she explained.

When it comes to the series' graphic finale, Moutier sees the potential for serious harm. "No matter how much you try to defend a graphic portrayal of suicide to raise awareness, there is no way it will change the very real and dangerous suicide risk among the population that is vulnerable. It's very tempting to use that kind of graphic portrayal, thinking you won't be able to drive your point home if you don't, but it's a harmful message."

Some teens may be desensitized to that type of disturbing or violent imagery, while others will be much more deeply affected.

"If you have any say in it, I would not expose a vulnerable child or adult to it -- period," said Moutier.

Kids struggling with suicidal thoughts need to hear that suicide is not a solution to life's challenges, Moutier said.

"There are solutions but they might be hard for that person to access. Others can help them get through it and help them access those," she said.

Actress and singer Selena Gomez -- a former Disney Channel star who has spoken out about her own struggles with anxiety and depression -- served as an executive producer for the Netflix series, which is based on Jay Asher's young adult novel. She and the actors from the show talk about suicide in a follow-up video, "13 Reasons Why: Beyond the Reasons," for teenagers who are battling depression.

The bottom line, said Moutier: "Don't be afraid to have a conversation with your children."

For help, call the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Phone Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or the naional 24/7 crisis txt line aqt 741741.
Source: www.cbsnews.com/news/13-reasons-why-suicide-how-to-talk-with-your-teen-about-netflix-show/

The talk that could save a life: How to talk about suicide to kids of any age

Suicide is the way that depression — a very serious illness — kills, just as surely as a heart attack is the way coronary artery disease kills. With depression, just like heart disease, there are things a person can do to try to be as healthy as possible, but the disease itself is no one's fault.

Kids can handle this bad news. It will be hard for you to discuss it. They will have questions, but they will be able to hear this and understand at their developmental level. Even more, it's crucial that kids understand mental illness so that they can take good care of themselves throughout their own lives. So first, the three great reasons to tell them the truth of what's going on:

1. Kids deserve the truth. Hiding and lying about the facts will almost always come back to bite you, and will get in the way of good communication in your relationship.

2. Mental health issues run in families — almost all families. It's necessary to begin explaining these to kids as soon as it comes up so that they have years to get good, solid information instead of fear and guessing.

3. Even if this happened in some other family, it will open up meaningful conversation and a framework for future talks with your kids and teens. Seeing the pain that suicide causes is important for every teenager to understand.

What to say:

As with any tough topic you address with your child, share the facts you're comfortable sharing, and then pick the one message you want your child to remember from the conversation. For suicide, the most basic fact is:

"(The person who died) suffered from an illness called depression for many years, and died of it."

For the one message that sticks, see below for some developmentally appropriate "take home points."

Toddlers and preschoolers:

"Uncle Bill was sick and he died. I'm very sad."

Ages 5-6:

"Uncle Bill was sick from an illness called depression. He died from it, and I'm going to miss him very much."

Ages 7-9:

"Uncle Bill had an illness called depression for many years. He died from his depression. I wish he'd been able to get more help."

For this age group you may be willing — or need, if they will hear from others — to address how he died. If you do, you can simply say "Depression lies to a person and makes them believe that the whole world would be better off if they were dead. So he killed himself."

Ages 10-13:

"Uncle Bill suffered from depression for years. Do you know anything about depression?"

Asking a question and listening to the answer will let you know what your child already believes about the topic. You may be surprised what they've heard, and be able to have a deeper conversation. You might also need to correct some misconceptions. But if they don't mention suicide, you have to.

"People with very bad depression sometimes try to kill themselves. It's because this disease makes them feel worthless and awful and also makes them believe they will never feel any better. They start to believe the world will be better off without them. If they don't get the right kind of help, sometimes they die by suicide. That's what happened with my brother."


"Uncle Bill died of suicide. What do you know about depression?"

Teens value the respect of being told what's happening like an adult. Asking what they already know guarantees that you will start a conversation at their level, rather than assuming they know what they don't or frustrating your child with information they already have. Be sure — in this first conversation or a follow up — to turn the topic to your teen.

"Do you ever feel that kind of sadness or hopelessness? What would you do if you did?"

Many adults are afraid to discuss suicide with teens, fearing it will give them the idea to try it. This fear has been studied and research shows that more discussion is better, not worse. Telling our older kids straight out that we worry about them, that we'd be devastated if they died of suicide, does help!

Depression affects many children and adults. More conversation helps! When faced with this kind of tragedy in your own family, a friend or just an acquaintance, the only good that can come out of it is keeping someone else safe. So talk, ask, and get help for anyone who needs it.

If you or someone you know needs help, text the Crisis Text Line at 741741 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or call 911.

Dr. Debi Gilboa is a Pittsburgh-area family physician, mother of four boys and author of multiple books including "Get the Behavior You Want, Without Being the Parent You Hate!".
Source: www.today.com/parents/talk-could-save-life-how-talk-about-suicide-kids-any-t94331

Rabbi shares eulogy for teen Maya Gold to urge action and erase stigma of suicide

Rabbi Jonathan Kligler last saw Maya Gold in August. In front of a local Mexican restaurant, the energetic, motivated 15-year-old sophomore spoke of her plans to graduate early from high school, travel, and study a subject that would allow her to help others later.

“If there was ever anyone I wanted to see grow up, it was Maya Gold — part of the solution,” the New York rabbi told a group of 800 mourners less than two months later at the girl’s funeral.

After Maya committed suicide on Oct. 2, her parents encouraged Kligler to share his eulogy for their daughter, hoping it would help others open up about the taboo topic.

“The stigma and shame attached to suicide means that we do not usually share with others about the suicides we have been close to, or about our own attempts,” Kligler told mourners two days after Maya’s death. “If we don’t break the silence about suicide, if we don’t talk with one another about it, then we’ll never be able to help prevent it.”

Kligler, senior scholar at the Woodstock Jewish Congregation, told TODAY.com that through his work he has learned far more people have been touched by a suicide than many realize. He also speaks about the topic from personal experience: His pediatrician father committed suicide when Kligler, now 59, was 24.

“I knew I had to take that opportunity to bring suicide into the light of day and make it a part of ordinary conversation,” he said.

Kligler first met Maya after she attended her friend’s bat mitzvah at his synagogue. Although she grew up Jewish, she was not religious. Yet, her friend’s ceremony inspired Maya to start learning about her faith. She started training to have her own bat mitzvah, which was held last November.

“Maya was definitely a spiritual seeker by nature,” said Kligler, who also described her as someone “extraordinarily bright and on fire.”

The news about Maya's death left everyone around her stunned. While her parents were aware of her depression, neither they, nor Maya's therapist, had any indication the teen was suicidal.

“No one was negligent, so sadly, this one did not get on the radar,” Kligler said.

That's why he also focused his eulogy on the need for friends to look out for each other. He said today's society is driven by social media platforms that allow teenagers to know more about each other than their own parents.

"Look after each other. That is the bottom line," he said. "In a country where the ethos of individualism makes America great, it also gives you the illusion that you don’t need other people, and that has to be punctured."

In his eulogy, Kligler noted that Maya’s parents found various over-the-counter drugs in her room after her death. Among the medications they found cough suppressants, antihistamines and synthetic THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

“In recent weeks Maya had been depressed, and it appears recently turned to some drugs that made her feel better,” Kligler told mourners.

“You teens have to be more mature than ever in looking out for each other around drugs and alcohol,” he said. "When you see a friend losing their balance and teetering at the edge of the darkness of drug and alcohol abuse, you must be brave and act. Reach out your hand and tell us what is going on, so that we can help. It will probably be messy. You might make a fool of yourself, you might lose some friends, but you could literally save someone’s life the next time. Is anything more important?”

Elise Gold and Mathew Swerdloff, Maya’s parents, in a statement they provided to a local paper, said “our collective hearts shattered into enough pieces to fill the ocean” when their daughter took her life.

“Maya made a mistake. A mistake from which there is no retreat, no undoing, no return to a time before what has been done. That is where we begin to make sense of this,” they said, before explaining why they asked Kligler to share his powerful eulogy.

"It speaks to a way forward, a way to honor Maya’s life by cherishing our own lives and families, by listening and connecting with each other and by supporting each other," they said. "Please read it, share it and find your way in the web of receiving and offering support."
Source: www.today.com/parents/rabbi-shares-eulogy-teen-maya-gold-urge-action-erase-stigma-t51081

The Science Behind Suicide Contagion

When Marilyn Monroe died in August 1962, with the cause listed as probable suicide, the nation reacted. In the months afterward, there was extensive news coverage, widespread sorrow and a spate of suicides. According to one study, the suicide rate in the United States jumped by 12 percent compared with the same months in the previous year.

Mental illness is not a communicable disease, but there’s a strong body of evidence that suicide is still contagious. Publicity surrounding a suicide has been repeatedly and definitively linked to a subsequent increase in suicide, especially among young people. Analysis suggests that at least 5 percent of youth suicides are influenced by contagion.

People who kill themselves are already vulnerable, but publicity around another suicide appears to make a difference as they are considering their options. The evidence suggests that suicide “outbreaks” and “clusters” are real phenomena; one death can set off others. There’s a particularly strong effect from celebrity suicides.

“Suicide contagion is real, which is why I’m concerned about it,” said Madelyn Gould, a professor of Epidemiology in Psychiatry at Columbia University, who has studied suicide contagion extensively.

Suicide prevention advocates have developed guidelines for news media coverage of suicide deaths. The idea is to avoid emphasizing or glamorizing suicide, or to make it seem like a simple or inevitable solution for people who are at risk. The guidelines have been shown to make a difference: A study in Vienna documented a significant drop in suicide risk when reporters began adhering to recommendations for coverage.

That aim has to be weighed against a journalistic duty to keep the public informed. And in the Internet era, a person who wants to know details of a suicide won’t have a hard time finding them. Most of the research on suicide contagion predates the rise of social media.

Few of the experts’ recommendations make much sense in the case of Mr. Williams. Studies suggest avoiding repetitive or prominent coverage; keeping the word suicide out of news headlines; and remaining silent about the means of suicide. “How can it not be prominent?” Ms. Gould said.

Experts also say articles should include information about how suicide can be avoided (for instance, noting that the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day at 800-273-8255).

They also recommend avoiding coverage that describes death as an escape for a troubled person. One example was the 1994 death of Kurt Cobain of Nirvana, who was beloved among young music fans, including in Seattle, where his career rose and where he was found dead. Local coverage of his suicide was closely tied to messages about treatment for mental health and suicide prevention, along with a very public discussion of the pain his death caused his family. Those factors may explain why his death bucked the pattern. In the months after Mr. Cobain’s death, calls to suicide prevention lines in the Seattle area surged and suicides actually went down.

“It’s different from any other cause of death,” said Christine Moutier, the chief medical officer at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. “When someone dies of cancer or heart disease or AIDS, you don’t have to worry about messaging it wrong.”
Source: www.nytimes.com/2014/08/14/upshot/the-science-behind-suicide-contagion.html?_r=1

High school students hope to combat suicide, depression with '13 Reasons Why Not' project

This article addresses the issue of suicide. If you are looking for help, please call the National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

On a recent Monday morning at Oxford High School in Michigan, students gathered in their classrooms, settling in for the weekday grind. But instead of morning announcements, they heard a powerful message from their classmate.

“Hey, it’s Riley, Riley Juntti. Don't adjust your — whatever device your listening on. It's me, live and in stereo. No return engagements, no encore and this time, absolutely no requests,” the 18-year-old senior said in a recording obtained by TODAY from students at Oxford High School.

Anyone who’s seen the divisive Netflix series “13 Reasons Why” will recognize the monologue. It’s the same one recited by Hannah Baker, a fictional high school student who outlines the reasons behind her suicide on a series of cassette tapes left for her peers.

But when it came time for Juntti to blame someone for contributing to her despair, like Baker did, she called out a student for a different reason.

“You saw me when no one else did and continue to listen, share and appreciate the small things with me. Thank you for your kindness I cannot repay. You are one of my 13 reasons why not.”

Abusive relationships, cruel teammates and bullying are just some of the personal experiences juniors and seniors at Oxford High School have broadcast each morning since May 1 for their “13 Reasons Why Not” project.

The project was originally conceptualized by dean of students Pamela Fine, but now the students have taken charge. They are using their new platform to encourage peer-to-peer conversation around uncomfortable topics like mental health and suicide.

“There is never one reason why, there are not 13 reasons, there are not one million reasons why. So we started focusing on the ‘why nots,’” Fine told TODAY. “Hannah Baker had a million ‘why nots,' but we didn't talk about those. The show just took the viewer down a path of ‘suicide is inevitable,’ but it is not inevitable.”

“13 Reasons Why” has struck a nerve with parents, experts and school faculty nationwide since its premiere in March. It is overwhelmingly popular among teens, in part because it doesn’t shy away from the ugly parts of the high school experience.

But some worry the series presents an unrealistic image of suicide — one that could be attractive to vulnerable teens particularly at risk for impulsive behavior.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 10 to 24-year-olds, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A 2015 study conducted by the CDC found that 17 percent of students seriously considered suicide, and 8 percent had actually attempted it.

Students at Oxford High, which is in Detroit's northern suburbs, identify with Baker’s experiences. But those in charge of the project feel the show did little to demonstrate options for teens struggling with mental health issues and thoughts of suicide.

“Some of our students are going through very traumatic situations. Even though we go through those awful times, there is always hope and there are people who can help you get through that,” Juntti told TODAY.

So far, response to the project has been overwhelmingly positive. Within days of the first broadcast, numerous students have opened up to counselors and peers, and even volunteered to share their own stories.

This progress is particularly important for the Oxford community, which lost a student to suicide four years ago.

In 2013, freshman Megan Abbott, 15, died just outside school grounds mere weeks before the end of the school year. “13 Reasons Why Not” has been dedicated to her memory.

Abbott’s mother, Amy Hafeli, has applauded the school’s efforts. She believes her daughter, who struggled with depression, would have benefited immensely from the initiative.

"One of the things she always wished for is exactly what this ’13 Reasons Why Not Project’ is doing, for people to be nicer to each other," Hafeli said. "She is getting her wish through this project, and we couldn't be more grateful for it."

As for the students and faculty, their goal for the project is simple: save lives.

“Our goal going in would be to start conversations with our kids to prevent suicide, to build relationships, to empower our students and also to reframe the negative message they are getting,” Fine said. "There is no reason why.”

Oxford High School students will continue broadcasting “13 Reasons Why Not” until May 18. After that, Hafeli hopes Abbott’s memorial Facebook page will serve as a forum for open communication about mental health struggles.
Source: http://www.today.com/parents/high-school-students-hope-combat-suicide-depression-13-reasons-why-t111439

13 Reasons Why star, creator on the importance of a woman directing Hannah's sexual assault

As the first season of 13 Reasons Why slowly unfolds the story of Hannah Baker’s life (and why she decided to end it), the episodes grow progressively darker. One of the season’s most memorable hours, episode 12 — directed by Jessica Yu (American Crime) — contains Hannah’s rape, for which producers made a conscious choice to have a woman direct the installment.

“We felt really strongly that we wanted to have a woman direct the episode, for a few reasons,” showrunner Brian Yorkey says. “We wanted Katherine [Langford] to be very comfortable with what it was she had to do and we felt it would be helpful for another woman to be guiding her through it. We also wanted a woman because a great deal of the show is Hannah being seen through the male gaze. It was very important to us for Hannah to be led by a woman [for this episode].”

Langford remembers feeling supported during the entire filming experience. “It was a real privilege working with Jessica Yu, particularly on that episode, because she brought such a smart and such a thoughtful approach to it,” Langford says. “I think, as a woman, she was able to talk to me in a way maybe that I could understand on a deeper or more personal level. I felt so looked after.”

Furthermore, Langford applauds Yu for her approach to the challenging material. “I remember her talking about how we were going to shoot it and how different angles could make it look sexual, which is another problem: So much porn is based on rape fantasy. And so for her, shooting it was about not making it look like sex but more a physical action,” Langford says.
Source: ew.com/tv/2017/05/14/13-reasons-why-hannah-sexual-assault-jessica-yu/

Medford schools respond to "13 Reasons Why"

Medford schools respond to "13 Reasons Why," Netflix series some say romanticizes suicide

Schools across the nation are banning the book "13 Reasons Why." Netflix has a series on the book that is taking over televisions.

The Medford School District also issued a statement about the show that some say glorifies suicide. It also said health professionals, counselors and suicide prevention experts are very concerned about the content of the show.

The National Association of School Psychologists said they do not recommend vulnerable youth watching the series. A number of organizations, including the Medford School District said this is an opportunity to create a dialogue with your children about the show.

Although it is a popular series, not all teens have seen the series.

"I'm not sure if my mom would feel like it was the best TV show for me to watch," Logos Public Charter School student Zoe Vondoloski said. "She might not approve."

The family advocate at Logos Public Charter School, Frank Matz, said it is important to have a conversation with your children about it. Matz said he has lost a lot of family and friends to suicide, and so it was important to him to speak with his teenagers about it also. He said the series romanticized suicide, giving teens a romantic idea that this is something that is doable.

He said if you're worried about a TV show, your children are doing a whole lot more than that.
Source: ktvl.com/news/local/medford-schools-respond-to-13-reasons-why-netflix-series-some-say-romanticizes-suicide

Survivors of suicide loss say "13 Reasons Why" is sending the wrong message

Students across the nation are watching the Netflix series "13 Reasons Why." Some say the show glamorizes suicide.

News10 spoke with schools in the region about how they are responding to the show, but now, we wanted to know how victims of suicide loss are reacting to this show.

News10 spoke with Susan Holt; her daughter, Grace, died by suicide in January of 2016. She said the show is inappropriate and is sending the wrong message.

Holt said Grace did not exhibit any red flags--she always had a smile on her face. That is one of the reasons why Holt said the show upsets her. She said suicide does not look like "13 Reasons Why."

Holt also said the show barely touched on depression, and that should have been the focus, as well as helping lead people in a direction that gives them options.

"And the thing that bothers me the most is when someone dies from suicide, they're dead," Holt said. "There is no story that goes on, there aren't 13 tapes to go back and look at. There is no other series--series 2, and it's just so wrong."

Holt said if anything, she thinks it's going to increase the rate of suicides.

Holt recommends parents to not allow their children to see it. Above all, she said it is sensationalizing and glamorizing something that should never be put into that light.
Source: ktvl.com/news/local/survivors-of-suicide-loss-say-13-reasons-why-is-sending-the-wrong-message

“13 Reasons Why” Renewed for a Second Season

Netflix announced this week that it has renewed the controversial teen suicide drama 13 Reasons Why for a second season. Given that Netflix renews most of its shows, and this one is particularly popular on social media, the news should surprise exactly no one.

But that doesn’t mean it was earned. In fact, if you ask most critics, they’d tell you it wasn’t. Netflix’s renewal of 13 Reasons Why is part of a growing industry trend of fans clamoring for more episodes of their favorite shows, and networks more often than not indulging that impulse.
Source: qz.com/982615/13-reasons-why-its-time-to-let-your-favorite-tv-shows-go/

Schools warn parents about Netflix's '13 Reasons Why'

“13 Reasons Why,” the Netflix original series centered on a high school student who kills herself, is raising the alarms of some school officials who have sent letters to parents warning them about what their children may be watching.

“While the show is fictional, the series is extremely graphic, including several rape scenes, and raises significant concerns about the emotional safety of those watching it,” reads part of a letter sent Monday to parents of public school students in Montclair, New Jersey.

Andrew Evangelista, Montclair Public Schools District's mental health and harassment, intimidation and bullying (HIB) Coordinator, said he wrote the letter to parents in the district’s 11 schools after hearing about the series from students and watching it himself.

“It just didn’t seem right,” Evangelista said of “13 Reasons Why,” which is based on a 2007 young adult novel of the same name. “There were a lot of questions I had, about how the girl was portrayed and the lack of mental health resources that were available to her.”

The 13-part serial, which is co-produced by Selena Gomez, revolves around the story of 17-year-old Hannah Baker, who takes her own life and leaves behind audio recordings for 13 people who she says were part of why she killed herself.

Ali Trapp, the mother of three children who attend Montclair Public Schools, said she appreciated the letter she and her husband received from school officials. Trapp said she and her husband wrestled with allowing their 12- and 13-year-old daughters to watch "13 Reasons Why" after one of the girls read the book.

They ultimately decided to allow them to watch the show only in the presence of a parent and when their 9-year-old brother is not home.

"It’s been quite interesting how quickly this exploded on the scene," Trapp told ABC News, describing the series as a "hot topic" among her friends. "These kinds of things are very hard for parents. ... We’re left in this weird conundrum [where] I understand them wanting to watch it but as a parent I’m not sure that it is appropriate."

The series’ premiere last month quickly drew buzz and the ire of some suicide prevention advocacy groups, which expressed concerns that the show could increase the instances of suicide among youths. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among those ages 15 to 34, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The accessibility of the show on Netflix, which can be watched by kids on their laptops or iPhone and streamed all in one sitting, is also raising flags for school administrators and mental health professionals.

A letter sent by administrators at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School, a private school in New York City, warned parents that students of all ages may be aware of the series. “13 Reasons Why” is rated TV-MA, which stands for Mature Audience Only.

“We have heard from students, particularly in the middle school, who have viewed the series and/or have been discussing it with peers, but we know upper school students have also watched the series, and we are concerned about whether students in our lower schools are aware of it too, especially those students with older siblings,” reads the letter sent Monday, which was obtained by ABC News.

“While the show's producers claim their intent is to start an important dialogue about bullying and suicide, mental health experts have expressed deep concerns about how the show may be perceived as glorifying and romanticizing suicide, and they worry about how it may trigger children who are vulnerable," the letter reads, in part.

Dr. Christine Moutier, a psychiatrist, is the chief medical officer for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) in New York City. Moutier said she chose to allow her 16-year-old daughter to watch “13 Reasons Why” but is watching each episode with her and allowing time for conversation before watching the next episode.

“I’m watching it, just slowly and measured and making a point to talk about it and consider it between my daughter and myself,” Moutier told ABC News. “I’m having a hard time getting my head around watching it without that process.”

The AFSP has noticed a recent increase in parents and educators seeking information on how to help children process “13 Reasons Why,” according to Moutier.

She called it “commendable” that some school officials are offering support to parents around the show’s content.

“It’s kind of a judgment call whether to draw more attention to anything that is potentially risky to students,” Moutier said. “But in this case, because it’s so widely out there, I think the proactive approach with the parent community is really appropriate and commendable.”

The Montgomery County Public Schools District in Montgomery, Maryland, is leaving the judgment call on sending a letter to parents up to each individual principal in its 204-school district. So far, just around four schools have sent a letter to parents about “13 Reasons Why.”

“Principals are going based off of what they’re hearing in their school community, if kids are having conversations or they’re hearing discussions from parents,” said Montgomery County Public Schools spokeswoman Gboyinde Onijala. “As principals hear concerns from their community, many have decided the best way to address it is to send a note home to parents, letting them know we recommend the best way to watch it is with an adult and giving them links to resources.”

Netflix said it sought the advice of "medical professionals" when developing "13 Reasons Why."

"From the onset of work on 13 Reasons Why, we have been mindful both of the show's intense themes and the intended audience," the company said in a statement last week to ABC News.

"We support the unflinching vision of the show’s creators, who engaged the careful advice of medical professionals in the scriptwriting process," the statement read. "The series carries a TV-MA rating as well as graphic content warnings preceding specific episodes, along with an after-show and companion website with additional resources. Our members tell us that 13 Reasons Why has helped spark important conversations in their families and communities around the world."

The company posted on its website Monday an online survey it says found that parents who watch their teens’ entertainment shows with them feel closer to their teens.

The release also included a section with links to resources for watching “13 Reasons Why” with your teenager.

Moutier, of the AFSP, recommends that only children older than age 11 watch “13 Reasons Why." Beyond that age limit, she recommends parents decide what is best for their own kids.

“If a child is someone with known suicide risks and vulnerability, then I think for those youth, and adults frankly, there’s just not a lot of upside of exposing them,” she said. “It really does depend on the individual.”

If a parent does choose to allow their child to watch “13 Reasons Why,” Moutier offers these tips for making it as successful an experience as possible.

1) Start with an open conversation: "Ask your child have you heard of this show? Have you watched it? How did it affect you? And really listen because it might provide a window into some of their own thoughts and feelings and which themes they gravitated toward the most."

2) Watch with your child: "Watch it together every few days and talk about it while watching it."

3) Educate yourself on suicide prevention: "It’s really helpful to know basic facts and how to approach a conversation about suicide. Learning the warning signs is one of the most obvious things that any parent can do."

The AFSP plans to release in the coming days a webinar for parents and educators on how to start a conversation around "13 Reasons Why" with children. The foundation is partnering with the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) and the American School Counselors Association (ASCA) on the resource, according to Moutier.

For those in need of further guidance on suicide prevention, especially in schools, the three organizations have already collaborated on a "model school policy for suicide prevention," available online. The NASP also has its own "13 Reasons Why" guide for educators and families on its website.

If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.

ABC News' Catherine Thorbecke contributed to this report.
Source: abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/schools-warn-parents-netflixs-13-reasons/story?id=47006236

What should really scare parents about Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why” isn’t the teenage suicide

Hannah Baker has killed herself.

So begins Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why, a searing, melancholic 13-episode television series based off Jay Asher’s young adult novel of the same name, and produced in part by singer and actress Selena Gomez. The premise: Before committing suicide, a teenage girl records a number of cassette tapes calling out the role that other students at her high school had in driving her to the brink. After her death, her classmates are forced, one by one, to listen to them. Netflix doesn’t release ratings, but since its premiere a month ago, 13 Reasons Why has become the most-tweeted-about show of the year.

That’s in no small part because it’s the most controversial. While some viewers are utterly aghast at the show’s graphic and occasionally cavalier treatment of suicide, others praise its sharp exposé of teenage pain and declare it a “must-see” for young people. Variety’s Maureen Ryan admired the show for subverting the exploitative trope of the tragic dead girl, while feminist writer Ijeoma Olou wrote that the show “Scared the Shit Out Of Me, And It Should Scare You Too”—arguing that her 15-year-old son is essentially watching a “how-to” guide glorifying suicide as a successful method of revenge.

This fear, that the show exalts suicide and may inspire real-life self-harm, has taken hold everywhere in the world that the show is streaming. In the US, a Minnesota school district emailed parents this week warning that the show offers a problematic depiction of high school life, and an Indiana district advised parents not to let “vulnerable” children watch it. Similar notices have been sent by schools in other states and in the UK. New Zealand created a whole new rating for the show, requiring that anyone under 18 watch it only with a parent or guardian present.

It’s a lot of commotion over a streaming-only show that appears, on the surface, an over-the-top teen drama filled with predictable character tropes. But the show has struck a chord with young adults, who seem to be at once paying homage to the series and making light of it—with some even working Hannah’s suicide into prom proposals and makeup trends.

However problematic you believe it to be, 13 Reasons Why is still the first television series to address the prickly topic of teen suicide head-on. And the unprecedented alarm among parents—warranted or not—reveals a painful, undeniable truth: Many parents know next to nothing about what goes on with their kids at school.

Suicide rates in the US, particularly for teen girls, are climbing. Half of parents say they worry their child is being bullied or struggling with anxiety or depression—a concern that is especially pronounced amongst racial minorities. At the same time, a study from the Pew Research Center a year ago found that only about half (53%) of parents with school-aged children say they’re satisfied with their level of engagement in the kids’ school lives. And 46% say they wish they could do more.

Is there more to be done? Of course. Studies show that increasing communication between parents and teachers can dramatically boost both students’ academic performance and overall achievement. Similarly, spending time at a child’s school—whether volunteering, helping with assignments, or meeting with instructors—is one of the most common recommendations that psychologists and educators give to parents who seek more connection with their children. The lure of technology has cut down on face-to-face time in modern families, so parents need to make a point of carving out time for genuine, real-world conversation every day.

In part, Netflix’s show likely resonates with teens because they recognize its depiction of this truth: Its mothers and fathers are not paragons of parenting whatsoever, flitting in and out of scenes with little purpose in the high schoolers’ lives. Hannah’s mother—concerned, compassionate, and determined as she is throughout the series to get to the root of her daughter’s suicide—is ultimately absent in all the ways it matters. Her father, a blanket cliché of the quiet, distracted dad, is doubly clueless. As the couple begins to wage a lawsuit against Hannah’s school, it turns out neither is able to even identify her friends, let alone her enemies or tormenters.

Tear away all the sensational teen angst and frivolous girls’-bathroom drama of the show, and you arrive at its real horror: a deep, yawning chasm between children and adults, never directly addressed, never even recognized until far too distant in the rearview mirror. That, in the end, is what’s most responsible for Hannah Baker’s death. If parents are alarmed by the show, it’s because they ought to be.
Source: qz.com/970701/what-should-really-scare-parents-about-netflixs-13-reasons-why-isnt-the-teenage-suicide/


Why '13 Reasons Why' is dangerous

Mark Henick: None of the criticism of "13 Reasons Why" means that we shouldn't talk about suicide

It's critical that we do talk about it, but we need to do it right, Henick writes

Mark Henick (@markhenick) is a mental health advocate, speaker, and media commentator. He lives in Toronto, Canada. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. If you are feeling suicidal, or know someone who is, please reach out for help. Crisis lines in your community can be found here. For further resources, you can consult the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

(CNN)Albert Camus once wrote, "Good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding."

I can think of at least 13 reasons why these wise words remain true today.

The latest Netflix hit, "13 Reasons Why," is based on the novel of the same name by Jay Asher and deals with fictional teenager Hannah Baker's death by suicide. Before her death, she records a series of 13 tapes, blaming various people and enumerating the reasons for her death. The overarching narrative is a noble, if simplistic one: be nice to people, because you never know what they might be dealing with.

Or, more troublingly: Be nice to people, or they might make you regret it.

After revealing in the show's behind-the-scenes special that she wanted to adapt "13 Reasons Why" to help people, pop superstar and series executive producer Selena Gomez, who has been candid about her own mental health struggles, has faced considerable backlash.

Many -- myself included -- object to the series' depiction of suicide because it lacks understanding about how to show it on screen safely. And that narrative choice, while an artistic one, is also a potentially devastating setback in the effort to combat a problem which by any conservative estimate is a global health crisis. Nic Sheff, who wrote the series' 6th episode, had a personal connection with the content. Informed by that experience, he recently wrote an article for Vanity Fair defending the series and its choice to depict Hannah's suicide on-screen.

"From the very beginning, I agreed that we should depict the suicide with as much detail and accuracy as possible. I even argued for it -- relating the story of my own suicide attempt to the other writers," he wrote. "In AA, they call it playing the tape: encouraging alcoholics to really think through in detail the exact sequence of events that will occur after relapse. It's the same thing with suicide."

I get Sheff's point, and understand why he feels that way. However, one of the things that people recovering from a mental health problem or illness learn in their recovery is that your feelings are not always facts. The biggest problem with Sheff's defense is that, while it feels right, it's scientifically, demonstrably, incorrect and dangerous.

Why experts think the show is dangerous

Numerous credible evidence-based organizations with a firm grasp of the suicide prevention world discourage graphic depictions or discussions of suicide, because, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and others, risk of additional suicides increases when a story explicitly describes the suicide method, uses dramatic or graphic headlines or images, and when repeated coverage of that story sensationalizes or glamorizes a death.

According to a variety of expert sources, harmful portrayals of suicide may include some of the following features, many of which "13 Reasons Why" uses in its portrayals of Hannah and her community:

They may simplify suicide by suggesting that bullying alone is the cause.

They may make suicide seem romantic by putting it in the context of a Hollywood plot line. A simple, logical, and well-connected plotline may satisfy the story arc needs of a viewing audience, but it is rarely, if ever, the way that suicides really happen.

They may portray suicide as a viable option, one that can be an understandable outcome given a particular set of circumstances. In nearly all cases, people who die by suicide have a diagnosable (and therefore treatable) mental health problem at the time of their death.

They may display graphic representations of suicide which may be harmful to viewers, especially young ones and those who are highly sensitized to suicide imagery, as most attempt survivors and loss survivors are.

They may advance the false notion that suicides are a way to teach others a lesson, and that the deceased person will finally be understood and vindicated. They won't. They'll still be dead.

None of the criticism of "13 Reasons Why" means that we shouldn't talk about suicide; we should. In fact, it's critical that we do. But we need to do it right. We know that contact-based education -- when people share their personal stories of struggle and recovery -- is by far the most effective way of breaking down stigma surrounding suicide, which is the primary reason people don't speak up or get help.

I have some experience with this

I know, I've done it a few times. My TEDx talk about some of my own suicide attempts is among the top 40 most watched TEDx talks in the world. In it, I share some details about my own journey, and have since also reconnected via YouTube with the passing stranger who intervened and helped to pull me to safety during a suicide attempt when I was a teenager.

Triggers are not necessarily to be avoided at all costs, but if you're going to pull off a band-aid, you had better be ready to stop the bleeding and help the person to heal. To the credit of Netflix, they do link to resources from the JED Foundation. They've also added warnings to some episodes, and have rated the series TV-MA. Not doing so would have been a grave mistake, both morally and legally.

Discussion and media portrayals of suicide, even disturbingly inaccurate ones like those shown in "13 Reasons Why," don't "give people the idea" to kill themselves, but may still contribute to a suicide contagion or, somewhat crudely, "copycat suicides." That's because these portrayals provide a cognitive pathway, a roadmap of sorts, that tricks the minds of those at risk for suicide into believing the lies that their mental illnesses tell them. That is, at some level, they're probably already thinking of it, but rather than releasing those feelings in a controlled burn, the unhelpful content on the screen just adds fuel to a forest fire.

The critiques of "13 Reasons Why" are also about more than artistic license; the show has interjected itself into a dire real-world situation. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death around the world. More than 40,000 people die by suicide across the United States each year, and more than 800,000 around the world. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, more people die by suicide globally than from both murder and war combined.

What suicide is and is not

People are dying, and they don't have to be. They don't have to be because the real underlying risk factors for suicide -- generally mental health problems and illnesses like depression -- are completely and effectively treatable. The problem is that people aren't getting access to the help they need, and those who do are far too often getting it too late.

This is a scandal. If people were dying from any other preventable illness at the rates we're losing good, creative, beautiful, intelligent, average everyday people to suicide, there would be (and often are) massive social actions to prevent it. Washington would be bolstering mental health resources for fear of losing an election, rather than gutting existing legislation that attempts to provide, albeit feebly, protections and resources.

In her own defense of the series, Gomez described it in a recent discussion with the Associated Press as "a beautifully tragic, complicated yet suspenseful story." Netflix itself initially responded to the criticism by pointing out that "entertainment has always been the ultimate connector." Suicide is never beautiful, Selena. It is not entertainment, Netflix. However, it is always tragic.

I don't doubt that Netflix, Sheff, Gomez, or nearly anyone else motivated by their own personal experience and interpretation of suicide intended to do harm by creating "13 Reasons Why." In fact, seemingly in response to overwhelming criticism from mental health professionals and advocates alike, Netflix has bended to some calls for additional warnings and resource information. However, they may find it a challenge to put this particular genie back in the bottle.

Should you choose to watch it, please do so with great caution. If you do watch, know your triggers, know your self-care tools, and know who to talk to if you need help.

Also, please consider avoiding making the recommendation that "everyone watch" a show like this, as we do with so many others.

You never know what someone else is going through.

If you are feeling suicidal, or know someone who is, please reach out for help. Crisis lines in your community can be found here. For further resources, you can consult the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention or the National Suicide Prevention
Source: www.cnn.com/2017/05/03/opinions/13-reasons-why-gets-it-wrong-henick-opinion/index.html

Why I’m Saying No To “13 Reasons Why”

If you have a teen – or even a preteen – you’ve likely heard of a new Netflix series called 13 Reasons Why. The series, like the book by Jay Asher on which it’s based, follows the suicide of a teenage girl named Hannah. Before her death, she creates a series of tapes to be delivered to people in her life who wronged her in some way, whether intentionally or not. These tapes are more than just her reasons for committing suicide; they are effectively a form of posthumous revenge.

I confess that I haven’t watched the series, in part because we don’t have Netflix. (I know…how DO we live?) But I did read the book when it came out in 2011. While I’m a little old for the target audience, I taught middle and high school English for 14 years, and I considered it part of my job to read young adult literature. Through the years, more than a few students stayed after school to process what they were reading on their own time. Those conversations gave me a valuable glimpse into the teenage mind.

YA lit is by nature a little bit- or a lot – racy. These are books designed to appeal to tweens and teens, who thrive on drama. Typically, YA novels walk a fine line between being relevant and believable while also offering content that exaggerates the reality of teenage life. 13 Reasons Why is no exception. It explores issues that are very much a part of high school – and even middle school – reality, things like social media bullying, slut shaming, gossip, rape, and the feeling that no one really cares. It is a fast-paced, well-written book, and I’ll confess I was drawn in. As an adult, I read it with a grain of salt. Your average teen might face a some of these issues in high school, but not all of them, all at once. It’s fiction, after all. But what bothered me as I read it, and even more as I talked about it with my students, was the use of suicide as an insidious weapon for revenge.

Teenage suicide – and attempted suicide – is on the rise. Many experts call it epidemic. There are myriad reasons for this, but what scares me most is the adolescent perspective on suicide. Kids today view it as something almost unavoidable, something that just happens when life gets hard. When I was a teenager, a childhood friend’s father committed suicide. It sent shock waves through our community and people were broken-hearted, but there was very little talk about his death. My parents had a whispered conversation with me to the effect that his death was a very permanent solution to a temporary problem. And then no one spoke about it again. I certainly don’t support returning to this type of secrecy, but it feels like the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction.

Now when a teenager commits suicide, people make t-shirts, everyone wears his or her favorite color, and the school newspaper publishes tributes. In a culture obsessed with attention, it is hard to miss how much attention you can get by ending your life. We’ve become a culture that inadvertently glorifies suicide. 13 Reasons Why is the ultimate example of this. The point most teens will miss is that Hannah doesn’t get to enjoy a single bit of that attention. That’s right, because she’s dead. As readers, we enjoy seeing her enemies get what’s coming to them, but her enemies are still alive. They’ll get a second chance, a new day. Hannah will not. Teens do not grasp this in the same way we, as adults, do.

I’m not typically a fan of censoring reading material, but I do think we need to help our children make good choices. When you talk to a tween or teen, it’s easy to forget that their brains aren’t fully developed. And it’s also easy to forget that they possess a remarkable capacity for denial and often think they’re invincible. They talk about how awful it is to drink and drive and then go do it themselves. They truly believe they are different, a special exception to the rule.

What teens struggle to understand is just how quickly life can change. When they get grounded for a bad grade, they truly think the world is over forever. When a girl breaks up with her boyfriend, she really thinks she’ll be the crazy cat lady for the rest of her life. When you pair this lack of perspective with a culture that holds suicide out as a viable option, you get tragedy. They may not seem like they are listening, but our teens need us to speak truth to them until they begin to grasp it. They need to hear our stories of how life changed on a dime, of how different things can be in a week, a month, or a year. Even Hannah, in spite of what was happening in her life, would have found life far different had she given it a few more months. But without our guidance, the teenage psyche simply can’t see that far.

Due to all of this, 13 Reasons Why will not be on the bookshelves or TV in my home. I just don’t see the benefit in giving kids an example they shouldn’t follow. Even if they can articulate why Hannah’s choices were tragic, the option will stick in their minds.

Those who disagree with me may say that I am sheltering my children, or missing a great opportunity to open a window of discussion on these topics, but the truth is that there are good alternatives to 13 Reasons Why, alternatives that depict characters facing adversity head on. For example, Laurie Halse Anderson’s novel Speak has a main character who faces many of the same struggles as Hannah. She doesn’t do everything right in her journey to healing, but in the end, she learns to fight for herself and her life begins to transform. That’s the message I want my teens to hear: pursue healing, face the truth, fight for yourself, stick with it until you see changes…because you will. My students also devoured a memoir called The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. While technically an adult book, it is engaging and entertaining to all ages. Walls manages to tell the story of almost unfathomably awful childhood and teenage years without falling prey to bitterness.

Whatever you decide, please keep having conversations with your kids. Schedule a regular time to listen to them talk, and make sure they know they can talk to you about anything. Be prepared to be shocked and horrified without acting too shocked and horrified. Yes, teens might be sulky and temperamental, but they desperately want a safe relationship with their parents. At the end of the day, you – and not a book or Netfix – get to shape your child’s worldview. Thank goodness.

One last bit of advice – be sure to ask your child whether or not he/she has read the book or watched the series already. Many parents who were not planning to allow this in their home have quickly come to discover that their child (some as young as 11 or 12) has already devoured the book and/or the series. If this happens to be the case, I urge you to read it or watch it with your child and have conversations throughout.

We received two fabulous resources from local counselors, who also noted that a large problem with the 13 Reasons Why book and series is that it overlooks big issues such as mental health problems that can be treated, and the fact that Hannah never reaches out for help. Consider these links…

Talking Points for you and your child.

This link which is titled “Guidance for Educators,” but actually includes terrific facts for everyone and also guidance tips for families.

What about you? Are you letting your teens or preteens read or tune in to 13 Reasons Why? I’ve read and heard so many valid, thought-provoking perspectives on this particular title; each one challenges me to think about my own parenting decisions. I’d love to hear where you’re coming from on this one.
Source: triadmomsonmain.com/my-blog/im-saying-no-13-reasons/

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