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Mental health

Netflix series raises questions about mental health, suicide

The Netflix series "13 Reasons Why" has raised questions about the mental health and safety of children in schools. The show depicts scenes of teens being bullied, sexually harassed and assaulted, and a graphic suicide death. The graphic nature of the show and the narrative of hopelessness around suicide and bullying have many in the suicide prevention community concerned. 

The Kansas Suicide Prevention Resource Center shares concerns about the series and feels it is important to provide parents and other concerned adults some guidance in having conversations with their teens about the show. If they are going to watch it, we need to talk with them about it. The JED Foundation and SAVE developed a discussion guide soon after the premiere of the show. 

Suicide and mental health resources

  • Sexual assault services are available through The Sexual Trauma & Abuse Care Center in Lawrence and MOCSA in Kansas City. They believe people and offer help if they have been a victim. 24-hour crisis line in Kansas: 913-642-0233; 24-hour crisis line in Missouri: 816-531-0233
  • If you are concerned about your teen it is best to ask about suicide as directly as possible, “Are you thinking about killing yourself?” This will not put an idea in their head that wasn’t already there, but if the answer is yes, it is the best way to start having an important conversation about safety.
  • Help for those thinking about suicide is available 24/7 calling 1-800-273-TALK or clicking “Chat Now” on NSPL.ORG. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is staffed by caring, highly trained individuals.
  • Anxiety and depression are treatable. Primary care doctors and the local community mental health center are good places to start asking for help.
  • Suicide is preventable when we ask, listen and talk about what is going on with each other.

The Johnson County Suicide Prevention Coalition is providing an opportunity for our community to join together to ask questions and learn of the resources available in our community surrounding these topics during a community discussion May 18 at the Central Resource Library on Thursday, May 18 from 6 to 7:30 p.m.