It is perhaps timely to alert parents to the sequel of this controversial series as it is either available or soon will be available in New Zealand and your child may have access to it through Netflix. For those who do not know of the series, it is a fictional drama of the suicide of a teenage girl in an American school where she had been subjected to bullying and other social pressures.
Supporters of the series say it has been valuable as it has opened up a more public discussion of the challenges young people face. Critics say the show provides graphic, disturbing scenes and it does not go far enough in providing young people with advice on what to do if they or their friends are experiencing similar issues. It can be quite disturbing for children who are already experiencing mental health issues particularly relating to anxiety and depression so caution should be exercised by parents before deciding whether to allow their children to watch the series.
Shaun Robinson of the New Zealand Mental Health Foundation provides some good advice for parents regarding the the show. His advice can be found at: https://thespinoff.co.nz/parenting/20-04-2017/13-conversations-to-have-about-13-reasons-why/
Parents may wish to consider:
- starting a conversation with your child about whether they have heard of the show, have they watched it or discussed it with their friends?
- if you do allow your child to watch the show, watch it with them and talk about the issues the show raises;
- educating yourself about suicide prevention and what support children and families can access.
Student wellbeing is important to us as a school community. We promote resilience and discuss mental health issues that relate to teenagers in Health and PE. We also have several DEEP options that help students deal with anxiety, which will be particularly valuable around exam time later in the year. Recently five teachers went on a ‘Pause Breathe Smile” workshop which equips students with techniques to improve their wellbeing and promote a “flourishing” or feeling good and functioning well, state of mind. We are planning to integrate techniques and lessons from the course in the near future.
Our counsellor firstname.lastname@example.org is available to support students and the following web sites might be useful to parents:
I believe we all have a collective responsibility to support our children and be aware of warning signs of anxiety or depression. If we work together we can help present a positive view of the future where students are valued and are well prepared to overcome the challenges they may face.
Growing greatness – Kia mana ake!