Schools sound the alarm over Netflix series on suicide

'13 Reasons Why' trending across U.S.
Posted at 12:45 AM, Apr 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-27 08:20:30-04

DENVER – Several Colorado school districts are raising concerns about a popular Netflix series dealing with suicide.

It's called ‘13 Reasons Why.’

Some educators question whether it’s an appropriate series for teens to watch.

Douglas County Schools

The Douglas County School District published an article about ’13 Reasons Why’ in its April 13th  newsletter.

It encourages parents to have a conversation with their kids, about the series, and the topic.

Here is a link to the article:

“When parents hear about trending topics, it brings opportunity to all of us, to have these conversations with our youth,” said Staci McCormack, the coordinator for DCSD’s Prevention and School Culture Department.

Denver Public Schools

Denver Public Schools is drafting a letter to send home to parents.

“It’s important to talk to kids about suicide,” said Katherine Plog Martinez, the executive director of Whole Child Support at DPS, “but it’s important that it be done in a way that helps them think about how they respond, how they connect with caring adults.”

East High student Anna Eastwood told Denver7 that she has watched the show.  She said fellow students have too.

“I carpool to school every day with a bunch of younger students,” she said. “We were actually having a conversation about it on the way to school this morning.”

When asked what she thought about the program, Eastwood replied, “I think it’s a triggering show. You need to be careful if you’re going to watch it.”

“‘13 Reasons Why’ trends dangerously close to glorifying suicide,” Plog Martinez said, “and we know that, particularly in teens, suicide does have a contagion risk.”

Plog Martinez notes that the Netflix series depicts a counselor not providing support to a student.

“We want to reassure our students that the psychologists, social workers, counselors and nurses are there to support them and will take them seriously when they bring concerns,” she said.

Plog Martinez said ‘13 Reasons Why’ gives DPS an opportunity to go back and revisit their suicide prevention curriculum.

She said the curriculum encourages students to ACT, which means acknowledge signs, show care and tell a trusted adult.

“We want students to know that suicide is preventable,” she said, “and we need them to be part of that.

Available Resources

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline – 800-273-825

Safe to Tell – 877-542-7233

Trevor Project – 866-488-7386