Many adults in the community are talking about the Netflix original series, 13 Reasons Why, which is based on a novel with the same name. While it is a fictional story, it is a “cautionary tale of a young girl’s suicide, and covers other sensitive subject matters as the series progresses such as sexual abuse, rape, substance abuse, mental health, and bullying,” says the CT Suicide Advisory Board (CTSAB). They add that, “The show sensationalizes suicide, focuses on reasons to die vs. reasons to live, and blames survivors--all of whom can easily trigger at-risk individuals.”
Due to the popularity and the subject matter of the series, many national and state organizations have created resources to assist adults in talking with individuals at risk--especially youth--about suicide as it relates to the situational drama that unfolds in the TV series and in general. The CTSAB is providing the information below to assist parents and adults in the community who work with children, to have conversations about these very serious and sensitive topics.
• Preview the series prior to permitting youth to view;
• If you consider the series suitable for youth, watch the series with them;
• Watch the Netflix series companion piece 13 Reasons Why: Beyond the Reasons for a discussion by cast, producers, and mental-health professionals;
• Create a safe, judgment-free zone when talking about the series and subject matter;
• Discuss reasons to live and how to stay safe, identify trusted kids can talk with, and where and how to access help.
If you or someone you love needs help in CT, call 211 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. In an emergency, call 911.
Additionally, you can read the 13 Reasons Why Talkpoints sheet from the Suicide Awareness Voices of Education & the JED Foundation, and read more about suicide safety planning from www.preventsuicidect.org.