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13 Reasons Why – Suggestions for Families

Last updated on Friday, April 21, 2017

Dear Families,

We want to make you aware of a book and Netflix series causing concern in the educational community. Netflix has released a new series, 13 Reasons Why, that may harm students who struggle with mental health challenges.

Based on a young adult novel, the fictional series depicts events leading to death by suicide of a young character. It has graphic content related to suicide, glamorization of suicidal behaviour and negative portrayals of helping professionals, which may prevent youth from seeking help.

We have recommended that our teachers not use this as a teaching aid. In any class, some students could watch the series and potentially benefit. Others may have a negative reaction, whether they then blame the victim or others during the class discussions or identify with the victim and the attention their death received.

Incidents of self-harm can increase after media portrayals of suicide. We do not want to contribute to this. We know, of course, that some students will watch this series or read the book outside of school.

If your child is watching this series or reading this book, we recommend watching or reading with them in case they have concerns or questions. We have also prepared tips below to help families speak to their children about this issue.

If you have concerns about your child, please speak with your Principal or contact COAST Hamilton Crisis Line (www.coasthamilton.ca or 905-972-8338) or Kids Help Phone (www.kidshelpphone.ca or 1-800-668-6868).

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13 Reasons Why – Suggestions for Families

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