If you are parenting an adolescent or teenager, you’ve heard of the Netflix Original Series 13 Reasons Why. Chances are, your children have too. The television series, based on a novel by the same name, is a fictional story of a teenage girl’s suicide and other sensitive issues associated with it. The show has quite unceremoniously placed the issue of teen suicide in the front and center in our community conversations. However, many of us parents are discovering the difficulty of having conversations about teen suicide and its representation in 13 Reasons Why in our own homes with our own children. The mere introduction of something so tragic has left parents wondering what to do. Do you let your kid watch the series? Will it cause your child to romanticize suicide? The answer might come easier with some guidance.
Topics: Teen Suicide
Thousands of words have been written or spoken since the news of Robin Williams’ death. People describe the shock they felt upon hearing the news, the sadness they experienced, the sense of loss, and most were left asking, “what could have been done to prevent it?”
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline notes that “Suicide is complex. There are almost always multiple causes, including psychiatric illnesses, which may not have been recognized or treated. However, these illnesses are treatable.” There are stories of hope and recovery but suicide prevention begins with awareness. The following information is from The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
Be aware of Warning Signs of Suicide:
- Talking about wanting to die
- Looking for a way to kill oneself
- Talking about feeling of hopelessness or having no purpose
- Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
- Acting anxious, agitated or recklessly
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Withdrawing or feeling isolated
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
- Displaying extreme mood swings
The more of these signs a person shows, the greater the risk. Please be aware that these warning signs are associated with suicide, but may not always lead to suicide.
Know What To Do!
If someone you know exhibits warning signs of suicide:
- Do not leave the person alone
- Remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt
- Call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK FREE (8255)
- Take the person to an emergency room to seek help from a medical or mental health professional
Closer to home, in Texas, one in seven Hispanic high schoolers are reported to have a suicide plan. In Bexar County, eight people under the age of 18 have died by suicide as of July 31; a rise in the suicide rate. There are many local and state resources available for suicide prevention. Become familiar with the information.
September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day and National Suicide Prevention Week is September 8-14. Support these events by taking the time to become aware. Participate in a local event. Taking action may be the difference that's needed to prevent a loss.