Just as I did last year at this time, I want to take a moment to write to you regarding season two of the Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why. The second season premieres, with tremendous promotion, on Netflix tomorrow, Friday, May 18.
The series, based on the 2007 young adult book of the same name, delves into the topic of teen suicide. During the first season, the main character, Hannah, takes her own life and leaves behind cassette tapes, containing messages for those she considers responsible for not stopping her suicide. We understand that, like the first season, there are many graphic scenes with an emphasis on sexual assault. We have also learned that at the start of each episode of season two, the actors will step out of character and address the audience and acknowledge that the show may not be appropriate for all audiences.
Many school counselors, mental health professionals and educators have concerns about the way this serious topic of teen suicide is presented in the series. Recently, some of our school counseling team participated in a Facebook Live discussion, dealing with the themes of the show and ways in which counselors can prepare to help students with challenging conversations and situations.
We understand that concerns regarding mental health in children/teens have skyrocketed in recent years and Nutley is not immune to this. In a recent community survey, more than half of our respondents expressed a need for student mental/physical health to become a focus area for the district during the next five years. In fact, just this week, the district held a focus group on student health and wellness.
Along with the district’s principals, school counselors and administrators, I urge you to have a conversation with your child if they are watching this series or considering watching it. While it may be difficult, watching it together as a family, may also be an option. I have included links and phone numbers below to resources regarding this series and teen suicide. If you have any questions, I encourage you to reach out to your child’s principal or counselor.
The health and wellbeing of all our students is our top priority. As always, I urge you to seek help if you feel your child is in distress.
Dr. Julie Glazer
Mental Health Resources:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273- TALK
NJ Hopeline: 1-855-NJ-HOPELINE (654-6735)
2nd Floor Youth Helpline: 888-222-2228 (call or text)