Urgent Message from the AA Mental Health Team:
“13 Reasons Why”: talking with your child about suicide and other peer concerns
’13 Reasons Why’ is a fictional story, based on the New York Times Best Selling Novel by Jay Asher, that focuses on a teenage girl and the reasons she committed suicide. Currently trending as a Netflix series, this graphic story depicts rape, teens cutting themselves, and other mature themes. The DCSD Health and Wellness and AA Mental Health team wanted to bring awareness of the series to parents because although tempting to insulate teens from this type of material, it can also be an opportunity to talk with our children.
Children are curious about death and suicide and research indicates that talking about suicide does not create suicidal ideations. It’s important to expect our children to be curious and to keep that door open to having a dialog, asking “Why are you interested in this? What are you thinking about it? How do your friends talk about it?” and “Have you had thoughts about hurting yourself?”
We need to engage in conversations with our children not only about what they are watching and reading, but about what they are thinking and what their peer interactions are like during and after school. The National Association of School Psychologists published a helpful article titled "13 Reasons Why" Netflix Series: Considerations for Educators" as a resource for educators and families in direct response to the airing of “13 Reasons Why” on NetFlix. During the past few weeks, students at our school and in the district have been saying things like “KYS” which stands for “Kill yourself,” writing “495” which are the numerical numbers that correspond to the letters “die,” talking about feeling “useless” or “worthless,” because of how peers treat them and having a general lack of respect for one another.
13 Reasons Why" Netflix Series: Considerations for Educators
It’s important we all work together to understand the at-risk signs to support our children as a team. We want to build a safety net of trusted adults our children can turn to when they are having trouble: parents, teachers, positive mentors in the community, mental health support, and positive friends. Having a strong safety net and resiliency skills when life is difficult is essential for us all.
At Risk Signs
If a parent needs assistance afterhours or in a crisis, they are encouraged to call Colorado Crisis Services at 1-844-493-TALK (8255) or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255
It takes all of us, working together, to protect our students and keep our children safe. If you have any questions or need help for your child, please reach out to your child’s principal, school psychologist, school counselor, or teacher.

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