This statement is provided by SAVE, Suicide Awareness Voices of Education. To see the full statement, resources, and organizations providing resources for suicide prevention, read the statement in its entirety here: 13 Reasons Why Toolkit. and American Foundation for Suicide Prevention 13 Reasons Why Resource
Last spring the Series, 13 Reasons Why, captured the attention of many youth globally and created countless discussions among teens and between teens and their families. Following the recent school shootings, an increase in online violence and concerns regarding the upcoming release of 13 Reasons Why Season 2, organizations from around the world have asked Netflix to cover the many issues in the series responsibly. We hope that they do this because research demonstrates that depictions of violence and self-harm can increase the likelihood of copycat behaviors. Adolescents are a vulnerable group and are highly impressionable, frequently copying others’ behaviors or reacting in response to things they have watched.
While we are not certain what the exact content of Season 2 will be, nor how Netflix will present it, we know that it will be released on Friday, May 18th. Based on how Season 1 ended and from the pre-release trailers, cast interviews and pre-release statements from Netflix blog posts, we can assume that topics in the series might include: suicide, school violence, online and in person bullying, sexual assault and substance abuse. Given the gravity of these issues, we believe it is important to convey our concerns to parents, educators and professionals working with youth in advance of the series release in an effort to help reduce the risk of a tragedy.
- We discourage watching Season 2 among vulnerable and at-risk youth (for example those living with depression or an anxiety disorder) because of the triggering impact it could have on them. The content could be quite disturbing to them and result in them needing additional care, monitoring, support and/or treatment.
- If you do watch the series, make an effort to watch the second season of 13 Reasons Why with your child(ren). We know that while this isn’t always possible, but when you can it is a good practice. Watching it together will allow you the opportunity to monitor the impact each episode has on your child. You can stop and take time between episodes. It also affords you the opportunity to talk with your child after each episode and ensure that they are stable enough to continue watching the series.
- If you are not able to watch season 2 with your child, ask them if they have seen it or not, talk with them about their thoughts and reactions, as well as their feelings about the content. Make sure they know that they can come to you with questions or worries if they have them about themselves or their friends and that you will be there to listen and help guide them.
- Monitor youth who might be vulnerable to some of the story lines in the series and, if they might be at risk, suggest they do not watch the series until a later date. Make sure to check in with your child more than just one time over a couple of weeks after the show is watched, as sometimes it takes a few days before emotions really impact young people, and as they talk with peers about various reactions to the show.
- Reassure youth that fiction and reality are not the same thing. Help them understand that what they see and hear on television is not their life, but rather it is a made up story. Even though they might believe that what they have seen is or feels like their reality, it is critical that you help them understand it is not and that the outcomes from the series do not have to be their outcomes.
- Know resources in your local community for where you can find help, if needed. In the Penn Manor Community, you can reach out to your local school counselor for referrals for therapeutic counseling. If it is after school hours or an mental health emergency, contact the Lancaster County Crisis Intervention 717-394-2631.