Season 2 of the controversial series, “13 Reasons Why” was released on Netflix today, Friday, May 18. We want the parents of our school community to know that this series contains content which may be disturbing to youth at any age, most especially those who are vulnerable due to their age or maturity level, pre-existing mental health conditions (for example, depression or anxiety), and/or previous life experiences (for example, grief and loss).
Themes projected for Season 2 include online and other types of bullying, suicide, sexual assault, substance abuse, and a potential school shooting. While Netflix and the series creators have reportedly taken into account the advice of experts in their creation of Season 2, concern remains about how the real-world problems of the characters will be portrayed.
We share the concern of mental health experts about the potential negative impact the series could have on our youth without guidance and conversation with parents and other trusted adults. Children and teenagers are impressionable by words and graphic stories, fictional or real, positive or negative, and therefore, the experiences of the characters can potentially influence youth. We do not recommend that students watch this series without adult guidance and support, and we strongly advise you to talk as a family about what you know of the series.
To aid you in this process, we recommend the following resources. Youth who feel suicidal are not likely to seek help directly, so we would also like to equip you with recommended educational resources about suicide risk warning signs and immediate actions to take when you recognize the warning signs.
- National Suicide Prevention Hotline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or text “START” to 741741
- “13 Reasons Why” Pre-release Statement – 13 Reasons Why Pre-Release Statement_SAVE.pdf
- “13 Reasons Why” Toolkit (To be Updated on May 18th) – https://www.13reasonswhytoolkit.org/
- From the National Association of School Psychologists:
- Prevent Suicide PA
- National Alliance on Mental Illness
- Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, www.rainn.org
We hope the popularity of this series results in productive conversations in your family, and that the popularity also heightens awareness to the importance of seeking support for ourselves and others in times of need. There is always help, there is always hope, and there are always people who care – you are crucial in our spreading of this message and we thank you for contributing to the wellness and overall emotional and physical safety our community.