“13 Reasons Why” Being Blamed for Teens Mental Health Issues

woman broken mirrorThe mother of a student attending Clay High School in Clay County, Florida says a teacher gave her son the idea of watching the controversial film, 13 Reasons Why, which contributed to some of his mental health disorders.

News4Jax.com is reporting on what appears to be a negative reaction to the Netflix movie that many experts say glorifies suicide.

The show is based on the story of a teen who commits suicide and leaves behind 13 reasons why she chose to kill herself, all of them dealing with revenge for some kind of bullying or abuse.

The mother of the Clay County High student, whose name is not be released, claims that her son’s teacher brought it up for discussion in class.

“I was told that one of the teachers was discussing the series in class, and, basically, said I think it’s a pretty good show you guys should check it out,” the mother said. “I would never have let my son watch that, especially alone.”

Days later, her son was committed for psychiatric evaluation after he began to self-harm.

“When I went to talk to the school about it after he was released from the MHRC (mental health resource center), I had written notes that he had made. He was creating a 13 reasons why list and told us that he, at that point, was having thoughts of suicide — that he didn’t want to live.”

However, the Clay County School District claims it was the students who brought up the show and asked the teacher to watch it.

“School officials said he went home to watch it and they had a brief follow-up conversation about whether he liked it, News4Jax reported. “They added that the show is not part of the curriculum and they don’t actively encourage conversations about such a powerful issue.”

At this point, the mother is not sure whether her son will return to the school next year, and is grappling with the problem of getting her son the help he needs because psychiatric facilities in the area are not adequate.

“I know they’re overbooked, understaffed and hard to get an appointment,” the mother said. “Especially for children that need ongoing extra stuff. They don’t have time or resources for it.”

During this month dedicated to suicide prevention, it’s a good time to brush up on the facts about suicide, particularly in youth ages 15-24 where suicide has become the third leading cause of death. Experts say 90 percent of these deaths are fueled by mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and drug or alcohol abuse.

The good news is that four out of five teens who attempt suicide give clear warning signs first, which means lives can be saved if we familiarize ourselves with these indicators.

Warning signs of suicidal ideation include, but are not limited, to the following:

o Talking about suicide
o Making statements about feeling hopeless, helpless, or worthless
o A deepening depression
o Preoccupation with death
o Taking unnecessary risks or exhibiting self-destructive behavior
o Out of character behavior
o A loss of interest in the things one cares about
o Visiting or calling people one cares about
o Making arrangements; setting one’s affairs in order
o Giving prized possessions away

Along with these warning signs, there are certain Risk Factors that can elevate the possibility of suicidal ideation.

o Perfectionist personalities
o Gay and Lesbian youth
o Learning disabled youth
o Loners
o Youth with low self- esteem
o Depressed youth
o Students in serious trouble
o Abused, Molested or Neglected Youth
o Genetic predisposition
o Parental history of violence, substance abuse, or divorce

If you suspect someone you love may be suicidal, contact that National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

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