During April of last year we felt it was important to address the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why” in a district letter to parents. The show had just been released and caused many mental health organizations to become concerned that it had the potential to sensationalize suicide in young people’s minds. Season two was just released on May 18 and is expected to once again appeal to adolescents.
Like season one, season two deals with mature themes, including a suicide, date rape, bullying and harassment, alcohol and drug use, and extreme violence. Shaker Junior High School Counselor, Stacey Angell has watched season two in its entirety so she could be aware of what students are watching and try to anticipate potential reactions. Ms. Angell acknowledges that even as an adult, the show is a lot to process. Her greatest concern stems from the extremely graphic sexual assault scenes and recommends that young people, especially those who may be vulnerable, do not watch the series.
Ms. Angell’s analysis mirrors that of the National Association of School Psychologists, which recommends that young people do not watch the series or do not watch alone. Click here to read more.
We wanted you to be aware of this content, in case you want to discuss with your child whether he or she has seen the series or is aware of it. Even those children who haven’t seen it may be impacted by conversations with others who have. We also think it is important to counter the notion that adults are unable to help in these difficult situations. In fact, we need to work together to spread the message to our children that help is always available. Students can always talk to a trusted adult at home or school if they need support or know someone who does. Our teachers, school counselors, psychologists and principals are always available to assist both you and your child.
Below are some resources about suicide prevention that you may want to review for guidance in speaking to your child on this matter. Please do not hesitate to call your child’s school if you have specific concerns.
D. Joseph Corr
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- Crisis Text Line: Text TALK to 741741
- Albany County Mental Health: 518-447-4550
- Adolescent Mobile Crisis Team: 518-447-4550
- The Trevor project (LGBTQ suicide prevention): 1 866-488-7386
- 13 Reasons Why Toolkit: https://www.13reasonswhytoolkit.org/