A recent popular Netflix series has been the subject of much debate; 13 Reasons Why, is based on a book by Jay Asher. In the fictional miniseries, high school student Hannah Baker leaves behind 13 tape recordings detailing why she took her own life. This series depicts strong and graphic themes of suicide, bullying, sexual assault, drug use and other social issues. Students who may have a vulnerability to this content include those with any mental health issues, those with at-risk behaviors, and those who are involved with alcohol or substance abuse or have had suicidal thoughts. The series is rated MA for mature audiences.
Families should check with your children to see if they are viewing this show, as it may not be appropriate for their age. Tuscaloosa City Schools' social workers encourage families to view this show with your child if you choose to allow your child to watch. Even though the series is fictional, young people have a difficult time discerning fiction from reality.
"We fear that some students may see suicide as a heroic or romantic act," said Audrey Ellis, social work services coordinator. "This is the opposite of the message we want to convey that suicide is never the answer and there are healthy ways to cope when having suicidal thoughts, or feelings of hopelessness."
Talking points are available to assist you in any conversations you may have with your child are available on our website along with risk factors, signs of suicide, and a suicide hotline number to call if you need assistance.
Please contact the counselor or social worker at your school if you have any questions.