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13 Reasons Why

If you are having a mental health emergency, call our crisis line at 503-655-8585.

There has been much discussion about the potential impact of 13 Reasons Why, a series on Netflix that is getting much attention. The series is raising concerns from suicide prevention experts about potential risks posed by sensationalizing youth suicide. It depicts a suicide death and addresses many difficult topics, such a bullying, rape and drunk driving. It also highlights the consequences of teenagers witnessing assaults and bullying, but not taking action to address the situation.

As a parent, it can be difficult to know what to make of all this buzz. For most of us, it can feel uncomfortable to start a productive conversation about the topics and themes depicted in the show. Creating a safe space to have these conversations is an opportunity to have dialogue with youth to provide context and understanding.

We should be talking about suicide and, like it or not, this series has provided us with an opportunity to do so. This show has a lot of power to shape how young people think about those who die by suicide and why people die by suicide — and it’s unfortunately not enough. They need to know that they are not alone, that support is available and that hope and recovery are possible.

If the show sparked the first conversation you had with your family about suicide, don’t let it be your last. Make sure your children feel comfortable talking about suicidal thoughts in a shame-free environment. Tell your teen there’s nothing shameful about having suicidal thoughts - that they can talk to you and get support if they’re feeling hopeless.

We want to support youth and families in talking openly and honestly about emotional distress, mental health issues or suicide. If you are concerned about someone, ask them “Are you okay?” Be direct. Ask the question. Talking about suicide will not make someone more suicidal or put the idea of suicide in their mind. By starting a conversation about the changes you’ve noticed, you could help that person open up.

While many youth are resilient and capable of differentiating between a TV drama and real life, engaging in thoughtful conversations with them about this show is vital.

Below is a list of useful resources for those conversations:

Parents: Read This Before Talking With Your Kids About '13 Reasons Why'

National Association of School Psychologists developed resources to consider when talking to youth and parents about this show, provides guidance for families, safe messaging for students and where to go for resources.

Tips for Watching New Netflix Series 13 Reasons Why:

If you or someone you know – youth or adult – needs support, 24/7 help is only a phone call away:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Oregon Youth Line – 1-877-968-8491 or text teen2teen to 839863
Clackamas County Crisis Line – 503-655-8585

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Public Services Building

Behavioral Health

Phone number 503-742-5335
503-742-5304 (fax)
Address 2051 Kaen Road
Oregon City, OR 97045
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