Netflix's 13 Reasons Why
Important information for parents
As many of you may have heard, the new Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why, is a big hit among teens. With so many students watching and discussing the show, we thought it was important to share the following information:
Tips for Parents: Talking about 13 Reasons Why and suicide
- Don't be afraid to have a conversation with your children about the Netflix series and the issues that it raises.
- Take some time to educate yourself about suicide prevention before talking with your child and before watching the show.
- There is a good chance your child as heard of/already watched this popular series. The show is based on a book with the same title. Be prepared to respond to any questions or feelings the show may have evoked.
- Ask your child if they've watched the show. Be sure to listen intently. Ask open ended questions without judgment, such as "What did you think of the show?" "How did the show make you feel?" It is important to validate and support their feelings. If your child is talking about any level of distress, do not hesitate to ask them about changes in mental health or suicidal thoughts. This can be as simple as "Are you ok?"
- A good resource for how to discuss mental health and suicide is afsp.org/mentalhealth. Raising the question about thoughts of suicide does not increase the risk or plant the idea if it was not there before. Asking questions creates the opportunity for the child to seek support and get help if needed.
- It may be good to watch the show with your child if he/she is in a solid state of mental health. WARNING: If your child is currently struggling with or has had any level of suicidal thoughts or attempts, it is highly recommended to NOT watch this show. Any child who has experienced sexual assault should also avoid watching the show.
- Binge watching the show is not recommended. Watch one episode at a time and take some time to talk about each episode.
- 13 Reasons Why has some dangerous potential for contagion. Some teens could take away a disturbing message that presents suicide as an acceptable solution.
- Ask your child if they think any of their friends or classmates exhibit any warning signs of suicide. Talk with your children about how to seek help for their friend or classmate.
- If you fear your child may be at risk, please get professional help right away. There are helpful resources available 24/7 at afsp.org/resources. If you need any help finding a local mental health professional, or need additional support/resources, please do not hesitate to contact the AGHS counseling office.