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Talking to Young People about 13 Reasons Why

headspace School Support has received a growing number of concerns from schools and parents across Australia about the recently aired Netflix series 13 Reasons Why.

The series, which depicts a young woman who suicides after outlining 13 ‘reasons’ for her death, has divided opinion in Australia. While some people believe the show allows for authentic conversations about suicide, others believe the show exposes viewers to harmful suicide messages and imagery.

headspace shares the concerns expressed by other youth mental health services about the potential risk the series poses to the wellbeing of young people. As many young people are currently watching the series, it is important that teachers and parents are aware of the risks associated with the content, and are prepared to discuss these with young people who have been exposed to it in a way that:

  • avoids normalising or glamorising suicide
  • supports young people to manage their emotional responses to the show
  • empowers young people to seek appropriate information and support for their difficulties, where necessary.

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To guide conversations with young people about the suicide content covered in the series, this fact-sheet outlines some of the main concerns that have been raised about the show along with suggestions for how to respond to these appropriately. Note: these talking points can be modified to suit the young person’s age and circumstances.

For more information or support, visit the headspace School Support section of this website.