I am writing to inform you about a new Netflix series titled 13 Reasons Why and its possible impact on our students. 13 Reasons Why is gaining popularity and we have concerns that the series may increase thoughts of suicide among students. All three school systems in Catawba County have collaborated to put resources in the hands of our parents and students to help address this important topic.
The show is based on a novel and the story of 17-year-old girl who takes her own life. She leaves behind 13 recordings explaining the reasons why she chose to commit suicide. While the show brings up the importance to talk about suicidal thoughts, it portrays situations where youth are dealing with serious issues, from bullying to sexual assault, without getting support from adults.
Our social workers and school counselors are trained in suicide prevention and supports and, unlike some of the adults in 13 Reasons Why, take all reports seriously. You may wish to discuss the series, or thoughts of suicide, with your student. Talk to your student about what they can do if they have a friend that is expressing thoughts about hurting themselves. Remind your student that there is help available if they ever feel sad or depressed. Be sure your student has the hotline numbers listed below.
If your student has warning signs of depression or suicide, don’t be afraid to ask if they have thought about suicide. Raising the issue of suicide does not increase the risk. Instead, it decreases the risk by providing an opportunity for help.
If your child is in need of assistance, please reach out to your school counselors or administrative staff.
Dr. Aron Gabriel
Newton-Conover City Schools
National Suicide Hotline at 800-273-8255
Safe2Tell at 877-542-7233
North Carolina Youth Suicide Prevention Campaign: www.itsok2ask.com