Netflix Series Sparks Suicide Discussion At Green Country School
JENKS, Oklahoma - A Netflix series is sparking a national conversation about suicide, and Green Country schools are asking parents for help in directing the conversation.
The Netflix series, ‘13 Reasons Why’ came on in March; the show is based on a book explaining the 13 reasons why one teenager decided to take her life.
"Little by little we've begun to see its impact in our student body," said student assistance program director, Paula Lau. "The series is different than the book, as in it brings everything to life. It's very dramatic, and I think that has an impact on young people's psyche and how they view things."
Lau said students at Jenks haven't been able to stop talking about the show.
"The kids view this as really just another movie, and I think, for many of them that's true - but there is that segment of our student body that I worry about that are already struggling with mental health issues," she said.
Monday, the principal's office sent out an email asking parents to stay proactive and informed about the shows their children are watching, and days later informed staff that counselors would be available to come and speak to classrooms at the teacher's request.
Lau said, "If a parent is going to allow their child to read the book or to watch the movie that they need to read the book right alongside the child."
Licensed professional counselor Melanie Fry said time will tell what kind of effect, if any, the series has on students, but, either way, communication and education are key.
Fry said, "The series opens a dialogue between not only just teens to teens but teens to adults, to where at least people are talking about suicide."
If you or someone you know are struggling with thoughts of suicide, you can text "START," to 741741.
There’s also a free suicide prevention training class at the Central Library in downtown Tulsa May 16, 2017. You can find more information here.