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

Tryouts underway for Oak Bay High golf team

Cool April weather brings a chilly start for school team

Many teens unaware if they’re vaping nicotine or not

Health Canada survey finds many youth are unaware of the risks of using nicotine products

UVic partners with harm reduction groups to run a drug checking pilot project

The three-year pilot will allow people to test their drugs for fatal ingredients like fentanyl

Public asked to give feedback on proposed protection measures for southern resident orcas

Measures focus on key threats related to contaminants, lack of prey, noise or physical disturbance

WATCH: Police call Happy Valley shooting an ‘isolated and targeted’ incident

One person in custody, another fled following crash on Kelly Road

Wanted by Crime Stoppers

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you think the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris should be rebuilt?

Images of one of the word’s most iconic landmarks were seared into… Continue reading

Woe, Canada: Bruins down Maple Leafs 5-1 in Game 7

No Canadian teams left in Stanley Cup playoffs

Should B.C. parents receive money if they make sure their kids are vaccinated?

New survey looks at public opinion around government’s role in forcing immunizations

B.C. men challenge constitutionality of Canada’s secret no-fly list

Parvkar Singh Dulai says he received a “denial of boarding” notification under the no-fly program last May 17

Murder on B.C. property didn’t need to be disclosed before sale, court rules

Buyer had tried to break contract after learning a man with ties to crime had been murdered there

B.C.’s largest Vaisakhi festival target of threatening Facebook post: Surrey RCMP

Police say they are investigating the posts on Facebook, after local MLA forwarded screenshots

Pug life: B.C. town boasts waggish list of dog names

Freedom-of-information request lists most ‘pupular’ dog names registered in White Rock

Most Read