The second season of the NetFlix series 13 Reasons Why airs Friday, May 18. Issues of suicide, sexual assault, rape and violence are anticipated.
The series is making an attempt to provide warnings before the first episode of this season as a way to encourage teens to seek help and cautions viewers struggling with suicidal thoughts or depression that this series may not be right for them or they may want to watch it with a trusted adult. Click 13 Reasons: Warning.
Many parents may choose to watch the series first and determine if it is appropriate for their children to view. A title-level PIN code can be added if you choose to do this or if you want to watch this with your child. A title-level PIN code can be added with PIN Protection.
Please review the 13 Reasons Why Talking Points below and discuss this with anyone watching the program to help keep our teens safe. While counselors and social workers are excellent resources, they are not available outside of school hours or during the summer. Two free supports available for the community include National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK and the Crisis Text Line by texting NOW to 741741.
Anytime you are in doubt about your teen’s safety and your family’s mental health professional is not immediately available, call 911 to transport for an emergency assessment.
13 Reasons Talking Points
- 13 Reasons Why is a fictional story based on a widely known novel and is meant to be a cautionary tale.
- You may have similar experiences and thoughts as some of the characters in 13RW. People often identify with characters they see on TV or in movies. However, it is important to remember that there are healthy ways to cope with the topics covered in 13RW and acting on suicidal thoughts is not one of them.
- If you have watched the show and feel like you need support or someone to talk to- reach out. Talk with a friend, family member, a counselor, or therapist. There is always someone who will listen.
- Suicide is not a common response to life’s challenges or adversity. The vast majority of people who experience bullying, the death of a friend, or any other adversity described in 13RW do not die by suicide. In fact, most reach out, talk to others and seek help or find other productive ways of coping. They go on to lead healthy, normal lives.
- Suicide is never a heroic or romantic act. Hannah’s suicide (although fictional) is a cautionary tale, not meant to appear heroic and should be viewed as a tragedy.
- It is important to know that, in spite of the portrayal of a serious treatment failure in 13RW, there are many treatment options for life challenges, distress and mental illness. Treatment works.
- Suicide affects everyone and everyone can do something to help if they see or hear warning signs that someone is at risk of suicide.
- Talking openly and honestly about emotional distress and suicide is ok. It will not make someone more suicidal or put the idea of suicide in their mind. If you are concerned about someone, ask them about it.
- Knowing how to acknowledge and respond to someone who shares their thoughts of emotional distress or suicide with you is important. Don’t judge them or their thoughts. Listen. Be caring and kind. Offer to stay with them. Offer to go with them to get help or to contact a crisis line.
- How the guidance counselor in 13RW responds to Hannah’s thoughts of suicide is not appropriate and not typical of most counselors. School counselors are professionals and a trustworthy source for help. If your experience with a school counselor is unhelpful, seek other sources of support such as a crisis line.
- While not everyone will know what to say or have a helpful reaction, there are people who do, so keep trying to find someone who will help you. If someone tells you they are suicidal, take them seriously and get help.
- When you die you do not get to make a movie or talk to people any more. Leaving messages from beyond the grave is a dramatization produced in Hollywood and is not possible in real life.
- Memorializing someone who died by suicide is not a recommended practice. Decorating someone’s locker who died by suicide and/or taking selfies in front of such a memorial is not appropriate and does not honor the life of the person who died by suicide.
- Hannah’s tapes blame others for her suicide. Suicide is never the fault of survivors of suicide loss. There are resources and support groups for suicide loss survivors.
If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide:
- Text START to 741-741
- Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- Anxiety Disorders in Children, Adolescents, and Emerging Adulthood from Psychiatry Advisor
- Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers from National Association of School Psychologists