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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Netflix and Misunderstandings About Suicide

The recent release of 13 Reasons Why on Netflix is worrisome to mental health professionals and to parents who need to talk to their older children about the realities of suicide. Please go to this link for a very helpful approach to this problem:


If you are concerned about the issue, you may also want to see https://www.suicideinfo.ca/resources/

Keep in mind that talking about suicide does not cause suicide, and if your children are watching the Netfliz series talking to them may be one of the best things you can do.


  1. This is my favourite quote from Ackerman:

    "It should also concern parents that 13RW hooks into a common adolescent fantasy: “You’ll be sorry when I am gone!” By portraying grief-stricken friends and family who wished they had treated Hannah differently, 13RW suggests Hannah’s suicide served its intended purpose. It promotes the idea that something permanent and shocking is the only way to make others understand the depth of one’s pain and what others have done to cause it. We should instead be helping our kids recognize that suicidal thoughts are typically a sign of intense emotional pain requiring active self-care, counseling, and the support of others, rather than the means to obtaining empathy or exacting revenge."

    If teenagers are interested in mental health programming on Netflix, I recommend NISE: THE HEART OF MADNESS which is about an art therapist in Brazil. It also deals with the reactions of families and friends.

    I like to have hope, resilience and social support in my narratives.

    And on Tumblr and places where young people gather warmlines and hotlines are frequently shared.

  2. "Keep in mind that talking about suicide does not cause suicide, and if your children are watching the Netfliz series talking to them may be one of the best things you can do."

    Yet that's the first thing, if not the only concern, that seems to be reported, repeated and remembered. I'm not qualified to speak with authority on this subject, but if I were to take a shot in the dark, I would think more input and light shed - that is, openly discussing something that actually occurs in real life - on a seemingly mysterious and unknowable phenomenon, could have nothing but upsides to it. Desperation and despair are universal emotions. Trying to avoid suicide by not bringing it up is like hoping that by not speaking of sex, one can avoid unplanned pregnancies, simply because the thoughts don't enter the mind.

    I just started watching this show last night, and I have to say, it would be more believable if the storyline reveals that she was actually the victim of foul play. It's a tad implausible that someone so focused on something outside themselves would so methodically construct this lengthy plan to exact revenge, and then not stick around to see how it plays out. But again, I am no expert on suicide and it's motivating factors.