The Netflix series 13 Reasons Why has been the centre of much attention, due to its fictional account of one teen’s suicide and the factors leading to it.
The Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB) has advised staff that they are not to use the series as a teaching tool. This decision is based upon the advice of mental health professionals from across the province, who have stated that the material is graphic and potentially triggering for vulnerable young people. While the themes in this series may not pose a risk or potential harm to most students, for those struggling with mental health issues and/or suicide ideation, this series includes graphic content, glamourizes suicidal behaviours and portrays helpers (school guidance counsellors) in a negative way.
The board recognizes that some children may watch the series on their own. If they do, the board encourages discussions with parents or older role models, about the topic. The SCDSB has supports in place for students and staff, and there are many community resources.
The National Association of School Psychologists has also developed information regarding the series.
More information and contact details are available at www.scdsb.on.ca.