Parent Resources

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To our Parents and Guardians,

We want to make you aware of the trending Netflix series “13 Reasons Why,” based on a young adult novel of the same name. 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. The series explores suicide, bullying, sexual assault and other social issues.

Cautions

We encourage you to find out if your child has watched the series. Suicide prevention experts have raised concerns about the potential risks posed by the sensationalized treatment of youth suicide in the series. The National Association of School Psychologists has recommended that vulnerable youth, especially those who have any degree of suicidal ideation, not watch this series, saying, “the 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.”

Family Conversations

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 for you to listen, help them process the delicate issues, consider the consequences of certain choices, and reinforce that suicide does NOT solve problems. 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.

Resources

We also want to equip you with resources as you have these conversations. Under this note will find resources to assist you if your child has viewed or plans to view the series. Experts also recommend that if your child is going to watch the series, that you view it together. Community-based mental health providers, along with talking points, and other suicide prevention resources are attached for your review.

Please let us know if you have questions, concerns or need an ear to talk to. We are here to support you and your family.

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