by Comprehensive Staff

05/08/2017 3:29 pm

13 Reasons Why: Considerations for Parents and Families

You may have heard recently about a Netflix series titled 13 Reasons Why based on the 2007 young adult novel by Jay Asher. The story centers on the suicide of the lead teenaged character Hannah Baker. Watching the series can be potentially traumatic for vulnerable teens (and adults) as well have families who have experienced suicide. The pros and cons of the show have been widely debated in news and social media. Dr. Paul Quinnett, the developer of the suicide prevention and intervention program we utilize at Comprehensive, has shared links to helpful resources for families and educators regarding the series. In particular, we want to highlight the following guidance for families. 

  1. Ask your child if they have heard or seen the series 13 Reasons Why. While we don’t recommend that they be encouraged to view the series, do tell them you want to watch it, with them or to catch up, and discuss their thoughts.
  2. If they exhibit any of the warning signs above, 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Get help from a school-employed or community-based mental health professional if you are concerned for your child’s safety or the safety of one of their peers.

See Preventing Youth Suicide Brief Facts (also available in Spanish) and Preventing Youth Suicide: Tips or Parents and Educators for additional information. To attend or request a suicide intervention and prevention training for your organization, please visit our Community Education page.