Netflix adds anti suicide warning to 13 Reasons; Expert says this is not enough

Apr 2, 2018 by

The Season 2 premiere date of the Netflix drama 13 Reasons Why is expected to be announced very soon, and already it’s drawing attention because of Netflix’s recent decision to add in an anti-suicide warning prior to the show’s new episodes.
With the latest CDC data revealing soaring suicide rates amongst children 10-17, a Netflix series that received backlash for glamorizing suicide cannot be the only answer for having tough conversations with teens about these issues.
Given the show’s popularity, I thought you would be interested in a high school that’s currently taking REAL action to address teen suicide and other mental health issues…and with remarkable success. Following five suicides in three years, last year West Bloomfield High School in Michigan offered about 200 students a brand new mental health curriculum, designed to teach them the coping skills necessary not just to be better students, but to live a healthier life all around. One year later, the principal of the school is mandating the curriculum be offered to every incoming freshman moving forward and says incorporating it was the smartest decision he’s ever made in 25 years of education.
We work with Ryan Beale, Co-Founder/CEO of Prepare U– a behavioral, emotional, and mental health curriculum for 13-18 year olds is currently being implemented in health classes to thousands of students per semester. Having already proven that it works, Beale is currently in talks to bring Prepare U to schools all across the country, recently appointing one of the Board of Directors for the Mental Health Association in New York State to carry out this task in New York, who was also recognized as one of the Top Mental Health First Aid Trainers in the country.
The program consists of 15 classes that can be integrated into an existing health program curriculum. In Class 8, which discusses suicide, students learn to recognize the areas of their lives over which they have some control as well as those areas of their lives which may be beyond their abilities to control. Here is a testimony from West Bloomfield student Cole Casper, who says this class in particular gave him the tools to stop his friend from killing himself:
According to Ryan, the realistic portrayal of mental illness in television and movies can be an effective way to reduce stigma around psychiatric issues. But it can be troubling if those portrayals do not show options for treatment. Schools are a key setting for suicide prevention and Prepare U is designed to give students the skills to navigate the complex challenges of emerging adulthood.
Prepare U is endorsed by the President of the Society for Media Psychology and Technology (a division of the American Psychological Association), Dr. Joanne Broder Sumerson. Dr. Sumerson’s endorsement states, “This curriculum is exactly what our students need. The videos are ideal for the targeted high school audience… Any district would be fortunate for the Prepare U curriculum to be implemented into their schools. For some students, it might be an introduction to difficult, real life topics, but they are guaranteed to understand the content, know they are not alone, and where to go for help.”
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