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Preventing Teen Suicide In The Age Of '13 Reasons Why'

Pixabay (Public Domain)

Suicide is the second leading cause of death in adolescents between the ages of 15 and 19.

The Netflix adaptation of the book "13 ReasonsWhy" depicts the aftermath of a teen girl's suicide and the reaction of those who influenced her decision. The controversial nature of the story, plus news of the show's renewal for a second season, has drawn criticism about copycat deaths and misguided models for risky behavior, prompting a warning from the National Association of School Psychologists.

Advocates are concerned that while a mainstream series could create conversations around the sensitive topic of suicide, young people may feel the need to blame others instead of working on their own mental health.

Over 90 percent of those who commit suicide had a significant psychiatric illness at the time of their death, notes the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Since these conditions can often go undiagnosed or untreated, addressing mental illness and healthy coping mechanisms could be an even greater challenge for teens.

How can young people, parents and educators share a dialogue about suicide prevention? Can the stigma around mental illness be changed?


Watch the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's webinar here:

TheAlamo Area Teen Suicide Prevention Coalition is currently recruiting for their teen advisory council:   

Teens React to '13 Reasons Why' video:

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Jan Ross Piedad Sakian is TPR’s News Operations Producer. In this role, she develops strategy on collaborative and digital initiatives for the station. Since 2016, Jan Ross has served in a coordinating capacity for TPR’s state and national partners, including The Texas Newsroom.