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Superintendent group sends advisory letter about suicide

Bedford Now - 5/19/2017

The Monroe County Superintendent’s Association distributed a letter to parents April 28 regarding the issues of suicide raised in a currently running Netflix series “13 Reasons Why.”

The video series launched March 31 and is based on the popular novel “13 Reasons Why” by Jay Asher. This is a fictional story of a teenager who takes her own life. As part of that scenario, the teen, Hannah Baker, has left behind a set of cassette tapes that explained how different people had hurt her and contributed to her deciding to die.

“This series has generated much talk from school-aged youth about not only suicide, but other sensitive subject matter such as sexual abuse, rape, substance abuse, mental health and bullying,” the superintendents said. “Due to the very serious and sensitive topics” discussed in the series, the Monroe County Superintendent’s Association is asking parents to do the following:

Watch the series first and determine if it is suitable for your children (a review of the series can be found at

If you consider it appropriate for them to watch, watch the show with them.

Watch the series companion piece “13 Reasons Why: Beyond the Reasons” on Netflix for a discussion by cast, producers and mental health professionals about the series.

If your child wants to talk about the story line, take time to discuss the subject matter without judgment.

Reach out to your school counselor for help if you feel your child needs it.

Contact Community Mental Health at (800) 886-7340 if you need additional resources.

The superintendents also recommend parents read a tip sheet prepared by Suicide Awareness Voices of Education and the JED Foundation at that discusses this particular show. “Suicide is not a common response to life’s challenges or adversity. ... In fact, most reach out, talk to others and seek help or find other productive ways of coping, the tipsheet said.

“The safety and well-being of all children is paramount. We all have an important role in preventing youth suicide. We urge you to utilize the above information and resources,” the superintendents said.


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