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CCSD warns parents of suicidal content in Netflix series ‘13 Reasons Why’

The Clark County School District is warning parents about the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why,” a show about a teenager who killed herself.

The letter sent to parents on Tuesday cites a statement from the National Association of School Psychologists, which cautioned the public on the impact it may have on students.

“We do not recommend that vulnerable youth, especially those who have any degree of suicidal ideation, watch this series,” the statement reads. “Its powerful storytelling may lead impressionable viewers to romanticize the choices made by the characters and/or develop revenge fantasies.”

The district’s letter provides resources for bullying and suicide.

“You may wish to discuss the ‘13 Reasons Why’ series with your child, in case they have seen it or heard about it,” reads the letter from the district’s guidance and psychological services directors. “Remind your student to tell an adult, such as a parent, teacher or school counselor, if they know of someone who is expressing thoughts about hurting themselves.”

The show tells the story of a high school teenager who kills herself, but leaves behind a series of tapes that explain how others affected her decision to take her own life.

The series highlights problems with suicide, sexual assault, bullying and the inability of a high school’s administration to properly respond to those kind of issues.

The National Association of School Psychologists says that it is vital to engage youth in thoughtful conversations about the show.

“Producers for the show say they hope the series can help those who may be struggling with thoughts of suicide,” the association said in its statement for educators. “However, the series, which many teenagers are binge watching without adult guidance and support, is raising concerns from suicide prevention experts about the potential risks posed by the sensationalized treatment of youth suicide.”

CCSD Letter to Students about "13 Reasons Why" by Las Vegas Review-Journal on Scribd

Warning signs of suicide

Signs of suicide can include changes in conversation, behavior and mood, according to the American Association of Suicidology.

If a person talks about being a burden to others and feeling trapped; if a person starts acting recklessly or withdrawing from friends, family and activities; if a person starts experiencing rage, anxiety, or a loss of interest — among other factors — reach out to the person or seek help.

Contact Amelia Pak-Harvey at apak-harvey@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4630. Follow @AmeliaPakHarvey on Twitter.

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