Netflix ’13 Reasons Why’ and Suicide Prevention

Westfield High School wanted to make parents aware of a new series on Netflix called “13 Reasons Why,” which is quickly gaining popularity among students. The story centers around a young girl, who leaves behind audio recordings for 13 people who she says played a role in her decision to take her own life. Mental health advocates have raised concerns over the message this show conveys.

Attached below is a resource from the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) for educators and parents. The attachment has more detailed information and resources we believe you will find useful. A few important points include the following:

  • The National Association of School Psychologists does not recommend that vulnerable youth view this series.  This is particularly important for adolescents who are isolated, struggling, or vulnerable to suggestive images and story lines.
  • While older teens can differentiate between TV drama and reality, parents should consider watching the series with them, and engage in thoughtful conversation to help process the issues addressed.

Please review the warning signs of suicide. Common signs include:

  • Suicide threats, both direct (“I am going to kill myself.” “I need life to stop.”) and indirect (“I need it to stop.” “I wish I could fall asleep and never wake up.”) Threats can be verbal or written, and they are often found in online postings. 
  • Giving away prized possessions. 
  • 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. 

Please reinforce with your child that suicide is not a solution. It is an irreversible choice regarding a temporary problem. There is help and hope.

If you believe your child may be struggling, please contact your school counselor for additional resources and support.

NASP 13 Reasons Why Guidance

Author: admin