Several prominent mental health organizations have joined together to express concern over the new Netflix series, “13 Reasons Why”. The series explores the topic of suicide by following recordings left behind by a young girl who died by suicide. The themes are complex, and the CMHA has expressed concern that the series may glamorize suicide and lead to distress in younger viewers (CMHA, 2017). In our roles as School Psychologists, it is likely that we will encounter young people at risk who have also been exposed to this media. There are several organizations that are offering resources for addressing the complex themes in the series with the youth that we serve.
The National Association of School Psychologists has released a short article that includes information on the series, as well as guidance for helpers dealing with young people with suicidal thoughts or behaviours. This article also links to a “13 Reasons Why” talking points tip sheet, created by the Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE) and JED foundations, that may be useful for teachers and parents to guide conversation around the series.
The CMHA has also released an official statement regarding the series, including links to a local crisis line search database.
A members-only "13 Reasons Why" discussion forum topic has been created for professional conversation on this issue within our membership.
MASP invites our membership to share resources and helpful links related to this topic and the general topic of suicide in youth in the comment section below (comments will be moderated).