CT schools have concerns over 13 Reasons Why - WFSB 3 Connecticut

CT schools have concerns over 13 Reasons Why

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(MGN photo) (MGN photo)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

A popular television show is upsetting school counselors, administration, and parents because of the way it handles the subject manner of suicide.  

The Connecticut School Counselor Association released a statement on the popular Netflix show 13 Reasons Why. In the Show, the main character Hannah Baker kills herself and then leaves cassette tapes explaining the reason behind her death. 

The Netflix show has a different tone than the book it's based on and talks about the topics of suicide, rape, sexual assault, and bullying, the Connecticut School Counselor Association said. 

"Concerns have also been raised about the lack of support that was offered to Hannah by the adults in her life, including by the school counselor. Unfortunately, the school counselor in this series is not portrayed in a positive light and may lead some to believe that is how professionals in the field may handle a similar situation," the Connecticut School Counselor Association said in a statement on Thursday. 

The Connecticut School Counselor Association said they felt 13 Reasons Why "could be particularly troubling for students who may have already thought about suicide or whose mental health is particularly fragile." 

"If students are going to watch the series, it may be best if they had an adult with whom they could process it with. It is also important for students to walk away understanding that there are many caring adults out there who will help if they find themselves in a situation similar to Hannah’s and they should seek out those supports," the Connecticut School Counselor Association said. 

Some school districts including Tolland, Cromwell and South Windsor have reached out to parents to warn them about 13 Reasons Why and made sure they knew that resources are available for children to talk about suicide. 

"As the series progresses it covers other sensitive subject matters such as sexual abuse, rape, substance abuse, mental health, and bullying. The show sensationalizes suicide, focuses on reasons to die vs. reasons to live, and blames survivors, all of which can easily trigger at risk individuals. There have been many concerns about this series by several suicide prevention and mental health organizations about the content and graphic nature of the series," Nancy Larson, who is the principal at Edwards Middle School in South Windsor said in a letter to parents.  

With the show increasing in popularity, Larson said: "many national and state organizations have created resources to assist adults in talking about suicide." 

"I recommend that you preview the series prior to permitting your child to watch it.  If you consider the series suitable, watch it with your child so that you can talk about the series and its subject matter in a safe, judgment-free zone," Larson said.

Skyler Brown is a Cromwell middle schooler who has been begging her mother to let her watch the hit Netflix series. 

"It's everywhere. It's definitely really, really popular," Brown said. "Everyone is like it's a good show. You should watch it."

However, Skyler's mom is against the show. 

"I've heard there's a lot of suicide in it and drugs and alcohol and stuff that I don't really think middle school is appropriate for it," Skyler's mom Shelley Brown said. "But like I said, I haven't watched it."

Skyler Brown is a Cromwell middle schooler who has been begging her mother to let her watch the hit Netflix series.

In a letter to parents, Cromwell Middle School Principal Ann Cocchiola said the show “doesn't address issues of mental health, coping skills and depicts educators as unresponsive or indifferent."

Eyewitness News asked licensed psychologist Laura Saunders if there's anything the show does well.

“I think that there is the potential to give a lot of positive messages,” Saunders said. “Unfortunately, there's an unrealistic portrait of suicide as an option and that treatment doesn't work when in fact that is not true."

The Suicide Awareness Voices of Education and the JED Foundation released 13 talking points on the show. to read the full document, click here

To learn more about the Prevent Suicide CT, click here

To learn more about the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, click here.

To learn more about the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, click here.

To learn more about the Joyful Heart Foundation, which has sexual assault resources, click here.

To learn more about the Date Safe Project, click here

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