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A note on the new Netflix series "13 Reasons Why"

Families and staff should be aware about a new Netflix television series with sensitive themes that is popular with teenagers. The series is based on a 2007 bestselling novel with the same title, "Thirteen Reasons Why," and chronicles a teen's choice to take her own life. Each episode features an audio recording that a teen leaves behind for her classmates and friends explaining her decision.
 
On one hand, the reduced stigma toward mental health has opened the door for productive conversations concerning suicide.  However many mental health specialists believe that for youth who are vulnerable, who are depressed, or who are having thoughts about self-harm, the series can exacerbate these feelings. The District is reaching out to provide our families and staff with some resources for support and for talking to children about what they may be thinking or feeling.
 
The topics covered in this television series are: adolescent bullying, rejection, heartbreak, sexual assault, abuse, revenge, depression, and desperate but unsuccessful efforts to find help or understanding. These topics are depicted as many of the reasons for the character's suicide at the end of the series - and for the show's young viewers, could trigger feelings of distress.
 
All Folsom Cordova Unified school administrators, therapists and social workers have been informed of this series and will continue to be a resource for all students - including evaluating and counseling when students reach out in distress, or intervening when they observe or receive a report that a student has expressed concerning thoughts, language, or behaviors.
 
This year, the District has trained all administrators, mental health professionals and teachers in mental health supports - including first aid and suicide prevention strategies,
 
Parents and guardians who would like learn more about this book and television series, and how to talk to their child about it, can use these resources: Guidance from the National Association of School Psychologists , and these 13 Reasons Why talking points.
 
Students and families who need assistance can always talk an adult at school, or contact our District's Child Welfare Coordinator, Scott Meyer, at smeyer@fcusd.org .
 
For anyone in a crisis, we also recommend these hotlines: