Psychiatrists worry that Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why is glamorizing suicide. (Netflix)

BC Children’s warns of glamorizing self-harm on World Suicide Prevention Day

Psychiatrist warns against over-stressing kids going back to school

As kids head back to class, staff at BC Children’s Hospital want parents to be careful about the stress being put on teens.

Sept. 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day, and according to child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr. Tyler Black, this time of year can make teens extra anxious.

“This day falls around the first day of school… and we actually see an influx of children in psychiatric crisis around the start of school,” said Black.

“Kids need to be well prepared to handle this stress and we need to be checking in on them to see how they’re doing with what we’re giving them.”

READ MORE: Are your kids anxious about going back to school?

READ MORE: How to talk to your kids about Netflix drama 13 Reasons Why

READ MORE: Kids Help Phone to launch 24/7 online chat for B.C. youth

Black worries about the glamorization of suicide in the media, including the hit Netflix show 13 Reasons Why.

“The first season I consider to be one of the worst examples of media not respecting the guidelines on suicide contagion reduction,” said Black.

“I have personally talked to children who presented to hospital entirely because of the distress of 13 Reasons Why.”

Suicide contagion refers to an increase in suicides after one is publicized or glamorized in popular media.

With school counsellors being one of the first resources kids have when they feel upset or depressed, Black is concerned that the show will make teens wary of reaching out.

“We’d really prefer if the trope of the unhelpful therapist was not such a prevalent thing as a plot device,” said Black. “People believe what they see on TV. I’d like to see help being portrayed as actually being helpful.”

The suicide scene of main character Hannah Baker was particularly harmful as it could inspire “copycat” deaths.

“We really worry about graphic portrayal… anytime media has portrayed a graphic suicide method, there have been imitative attempts after that,” Black said.

“The story of 13 Reasons Why could have been just as compelling without that graphic scene.”

VIDEO: From tragedy to greater support, first responders team up for mental health

It’s not that suicide should be hidden or never discussed, he said, but that it needs to be done in a “nuanced” way, particularly in media aimed at teens.

“Our message is trying to make sure that there aren’t unfiltered descriptions of suicide out there,” he said.

“Details about the death aren’t necessary, not over-glamorizing the person who died but maybe focusing a little bit on the impact on family and the help that’s available.”

Netflix has released a discussion guide on its series.

If you feel like you are in crisis or are considering suicide, please call the Crisis Centre BC suicide hotline at 1-800-784-2433.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Grand Forks to receive business recovery funds post-flood

The community will receive two Rural Dividends grants for a total of $655,000.

Columbia Basin Trust announces grant for technology upgrades

The deadline for organizations to apply is Dec. 17

Road trip comes to end with split for Grand Forks Border Bruins

The team is coming off its longest road trip this season.

Grand Forks high school students remember

The school and the Legion joined for the annual Remembrance Day ceremony.

Letter: English town remembers Grand Forks on anniversary of Armistice

Phillip Morris writes from Shrewsbury, England.

VIDEO: B.C. legislature clerk, sergeant at arms suspended for criminal investigation

Clerk of the House Craig James, Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz on administrative leave

Former NHL player and coach Dan Maloney dies at 68

Maloney coached the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets

Ex-MSU president charged with lying to police about Nassar

Lou Anna Simon was charged Tuesday with lying to police during an investigation

Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead under B.C. bridge

IHIT confirms Chad Wilson, 43, was the victim of a ‘targeted’ homicide

Otter makes a snack out of koi fish in Vancouver Chinese garden

Staff say the otter has eaten at least five fish

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

B.C. lumber mills struggle with shortage of logs, price slump

Signs of recovery after U.S. market swings, industry executive says

25% of Canadians still won’t say they use pot, survey says

Statistics Canada poll says Canadians on average were 18.9 years old when they first tried pot.

Kootenay music mentor crushed by stolen sax, sheet music

Anyone with information is urged to call Crime Stoppers or the Trail RCMP at 250.364.2566

Most Read