HCPSS Parents and Community,
We want to make you aware that Netflix is scheduled to release the second season of a series entitled 13 Reasons Why on May 18, 2018. The original series, released in March 2017, revolves around a 17-year-old who has died by suicide, leaving behind audio recordings for the 13 people who she says contributed to her taking her own life. The series is rated TV-MA and can be graphic, intense, and emotional for some viewers. The first season became extremely popular among adolescents and raised significant concerns for parents, educators, and mental health professionals as a result of the graphic portrayal of a range of difficult issues and behaviors.
Netflix has not yet confirmed Season 2 storylines, however, they have indicated that most characters will return and that difficult issues will again be explored. It is also possible that, in an effort to be ‘caught up’ prior to the beginning of Season 2, children may choose to watch or rewatch the original season.
While people may have differing opinions on the appropriateness of children and adolescents watching the series, we can use this as an opportunity to reinforce positive mental health practices. It is critical that we consider safe messaging when we talk to all youth and adolescents about suicide, whether it is about this series or a situation that involves them more closely. Therefore, we are providing these suggestions, developed by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) to help you answer concerns or have a healthy discussion with your child about this topic.
Ask your child if they have seen or plan to watch the series 13 Reasons Why. We encourage you to discuss what they have heard or viewed and provide an opportunity for open, honest conversations about the content and themes of the series.
If you are concerned that your child is displaying signs that something is wrong (i.e., suicide threats - direct or indirect, changes in behavior, talking about death, etc.), don’t be afraid to ask if they have thought about suicide or if someone is hurting them. Raising the issue of suicide does not increase the risk or plant the idea. On the contrary, it creates the opportunity to offer help.
Ask your child if they think any of their friends or classmates exhibit warning signs. Talk with them about how to seek help for their friend or classmate. Guide them on how to respond when they see or hear any of the warning signs.
Listen to your children’s comments without judgment. Doing so requires that you fully concentrate, understand, respond, and then remember what is being said. Put your own agenda aside.
If you are concerned for your child’s safety or the safety of one of their peers please seek help from your school counselor, school psychologist, a community-based mental health provider or call 911 for immediate assistance.
As always, if you have concerns about the mental or emotional well-being of your child, related to the series or not, seek help from a community-based mental health provider, school counselor, school psychologist or other student services staff at your child’s school. Some additional resources about the series or local mental health resources are listed below:
Resources Related to 13 Reasons Why:
Local Mental Health Resources: