13 Reasons Why:

Parents Need to have a Conversation about Suicide


Buffalo, N.Y. (WBEN) - The new Netflix series "13 Reasons Why" is drawing criticism from mental health advocates who say it romanticizes suicide. "The concern we always have is how the message is being portrayed" said Jessica Pirro, CEO of Crisis Services of Erie County.  The series is about a high school student who died by suicide after a series of incidents, brought on by individuals at her school.  She leaves a box of cassette tapes detailing the 13 reasons why she ended her life. 

Pirro said "We are hearing from local school districts that the series came out while kids were on Spring break. Many of them binge-watched it.  When they came back to school, many were acting out and schools had to address it pretty quickly because of the context of the series". 

Karl Shallowhorn with the Mental Health Association of Erie County says it's concerning.  "There may be that vulnerability; some young people who are more prone to triggers from things they see in the show".  He said parents need to have a conversation.  "We have a website JustTellOne.org that talks about suicide, drug & alcohol abuse and depression that parents and young people can go to for information. 

"13 Reasons" has people talking about a subject that is not often in the spotlight.  Shallowhorn fears that young people are becoming desensitized to it. "Suicide numbers are up. We are losing over 300 people a day to suicide and it is the 3rd leading cause of death among youth between 13 and 24. We have to talk about this and make sure the lines of communication are open. 

Crisis Services has a 24 hour hotline 716-834-3131 and more information at crisisservices.org. 

Click below for Jessico Pirro of Crisis Services & Karl Shallowhorn of the Mental Health Assoc of Erie County


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