With Season 2 of the Netflix show ’13 Reasons Why’ airing, it is a great time to talk with your kids about the show and suicide. Below are some tips for parents:
1.Don’t be afraid to have a conversation with your children about the Netflix series and the issues it raises.
2.Educate yourself about suicide prevention before talking with your children and before watching the show.
3.Know that your children have likely heard of and possibly already watched this popular series, based on a book about the same topic, so you’ll want to be prepared to respond to any feelings or questions it may have evoked.
4.Ask your children if they’ve heard about it or seen it. Steady yourself to listen intently. Ask open ended questions without judgment. What do you think of the show? Resist the urge to offer quick fixes or solutions to their potentially tough questions and reactions. Validate and support their feelings. Follow their cues. If your child is talking about any level of distress, do not hesitate to ask them about changes in mental health or suicidal thoughts. It can start with just asking ”Are you ok?”
5.Learn how to have a conversation about mental health and suicide at afsp.org/mentalhealth. Raising the question about thoughts of suicide does not increase the risk or plant the idea. On the contrary, it creates the opportunity to offer support.
6.Offer to watch the show with your child if your child is in a solid state of mental health. WARNING: If your child is currently struggling or has had any level of suicidal thoughts or attempts, it is highly recommend not watching the show. Any child who has experienced a sexual assault should avoid the show as well.
7.Watch one episode at a time. Binge watching is not a good idea. Allow time to talk about each episode.
8.13 Reasons Why has some dangerous potential for contagion. Some teens may take away a disturbing message that presents suicide as an acceptable solution. Click below and read about how to talk with your teen.
9. Ask your child if they think any of their friends or classmates exhibit warning signs. Talk with them about how to seek help for their friend or classmate.
10. If you fear your child may be at risk, get professional help right away. There are helpful resources available to you 24/7 at afsp.org/resources. For help finding a mental health professional, visit afsp.org/findaprofessional.