The Very Difficult Topic of Suicide
Parents, educators, mental health professionals, and teens and tweens are talking about/watching the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why”. A friend brought this series to my attention. If your child has expressed interest in watching it, I would recommend watching the series yourself, and decide whether or not you want your child to see it. While I am not one to tell people what to do, I need to point out that mental health professionals have serious and valid concerns about this series, particularly for children who are struggling. (See below for articles – “Resources Specifically Related to the Netflix Series). If you decide to allow your child to watch it, I suggest watching it together (after you have watched it by yourself first), and using it as an opportunity for discussion about a very difficult topic – suicide.
The benefit of this series is that it is bringing greater awareness to the difficult topic of suicide, as well as all of the painful experiences that teens/tweens experience. However, what it does not do is provide suggestions and methods of coping and getting help. I believe every episode should have had a list of resources, as well as some suggested questions/topics for parent/child discussion. Communication and getting help are two protective factors in helping to prevent suicide, and it is an unfortunate missed opportunity that the series did not offer this at the end of every episode. They did make one episode called: “13 Reasons Why: Beyond the Reasons”. It would have been more helpful to have some of that information incorporated into every episode.
Even if you decide not to allow your child to watch this series, it is helpful to know what the series is all about, as kids are now “playing” SnapChat and Instagram “games” related to the series.
HERE ARE SOME RESOURCES ABOUT SUICIDE PREVENTION:
www.afsp.org (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention)
http://www.sprc.org/ (Suicide Prevention Resource Center)
http://www.suicidology.org/ (American Association of Suicidology)
Another article for parents at:
IMMEDIATE HELP FOR SOMEONE FEELING SUICIDAL:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255
The Trevor Project at 866-488-7386.
Lifeline Crisis Chat at www.crisischat.org.
RESOURCES FOR HELPING CHILDREN COPE WHEN SOMEONE THEY KNOW COMMITS SUICIDE:
www.save.org at the bottom – For Survivors, Resources to Help Cope.
There is also a book, Suicide: Survivors, A Guide for Those Left Behind.”
www.afsp.org American Foundation for Suicide Prevention under “Find Support”, and then clicking on “I’ve Lost Someone”.
RESOURCES SPECIFICALLY RELATED TO THE NETFLIX SERIES:
RESOURCES FOR GETTING COUNSELING
1. Ask your child’s guidance counselor or pediatrician for a list of referrals.
2. Go to https://www.psychologytoday.com/ and key in your zip code under (Find a Therapist). However, this is not a complete list of therapists in your area. Not all therapists choose to be listed.
3. Google – using your town name and “psychologist” – local psychologists’ websites will come up.
4. New Jersey Psychological Association referral service – http://www.psychologynj.org/find-a-psychologist#/ (not all psychologists choose to be listed)