Hermiston School District warns parents about 13 Reasons Why, a novel by Jay Asher, that has been converted into a Netflix miniseries. The miniseries have raised concerns among school administrators, school counselors, mental health as well as suicide prevention experts. The series is about Hanna Baker, a 17-year-old who commits suicide and leaves behind recordings for 13 people to let them know how each played a part of her suicide.

The series also covers topics like bullying, rape, drunk driving, teens not speaking out against bad behavior/incidents.

The concern is that young people watching may have a hard time differentiating between a TV series drama and real life, or may not be in a good mental state. Parents are encouraged to have open and honest conversations with their children about the show as well as other topics that he/she might be wrestling with.

The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) has five suggestions for families to help parents initiate a conversation with their child such as:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

For the full list of suggestions visit NASP website at: http://www.nasponline.org/resources-and-publications/resources/school-safety-and-crisis/preventing-youth-suicide/13-reasons-why-netflix-series-considerations-for-educators

The JED Foundation (jedfoundation.org) has suggestions for viewers and parents, such as:

  • Make a considered and thoughtful decision about whether or not you choose to watch the show. If you have experienced significant depression, anxiety or suicidal thoughts or behaviors in the past, this show may be risky for you to watch.
  • Whether you choose to watch this show or not, we should all work to be caring of and vigilant about our family members, friends and ourselves. If you or someone you know is struggling emotionally or showing signs indicating a possible suicidal crisis get them (or yourself) to help. Support from trusted friends and family, and professional mental health care when it is needed, save lives every day.

For a complete list of the suggestions visit the JED Foundation’s website at https://www.jedfoundation.org/13-reasons-jed-point-view/

Additional resources to help you address this topic:

  • If you or someone you know needs emotional support, help is available 24/7 at :
    1-800-273-8255, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline;
    1-877-968-8491, the Oregon Youth Line

To report student safety concerns in an anonymous through Safe Oregon.