Dear Parents and Guardians:
This letter is to make you aware of the popular Netflix original series 13 Reasons Why. This popular miniseries is based on a young adult novel. It features a high school student named Hannah Baker who leaves behind 13 tape recordings detailing the motivations behind her suicide. In the dark and intense series, her former friends and classmates are left to piece together Hannah’s final weeks of life.
The content of the series is disturbing and graphic. Many young people could easily interpret the message that suicide is a viable option for handling life’s challenges and hardships. It may be very difficult for young, impressionable minds to watch this content and understand how to process it in a healthy way.
The series includes the following shortcomings:
- There is no mention of seeking mental health support, counseling or treatment options
- The notion of suicide is glamorized
- There are no examples of help-seeking by the teens portrayed in the program
- There are several scenes depicting serious trauma, in which the teens do not seek help or resources, including rape, bullying, alcoholism and suicide
- The graphic portrayal of Hannah’s actual suicide was unnecessary and potentially harmful to young people facing challenges
Please take a moment to find out if your child has read the book or viewed the Netflix series. If so, please take this opportunity to talk about some of its complex issues and allow the space for your child to express and discuss his or her thoughts and emotions.
Thank you for your attention to this very important matter. If your child is in crisis and requires assistance, please seek help from your child’s doctor. Should you feel the need for more information or support, please contact the school and you can be put in touch with our School Psychologist Counselor.