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

Kevin Dunnebacke running for City Council

Dunnebacke is the owner and operator of K-Town Custom Auto.

Nigel Kitto seeks second term on Kimberley Council

Nigel Kitto is making another run for City Council, saying he is… Continue reading

New pastor for a new church

Kimberley Pentecostal Church and Holy Cross Lutheran have come together

Basin sees increased support from the Trust

$57 million in benefits delivered through 65 programs and initiatives last year

Jumbo’s legal boondoggle continues

Province appealing the BC Supreme Court decision

Watch out for Pavement Patty: Drivers warned outside B.C. elementary school

New survey reveals unsafe school zones during 2018 back-to-school week

Horvat leads Canucks to 4-3 shootout victory over Kings

Vancouver dumps L.A. in NHL pre-season contest

Update: Search called off for missing plane between Edmonton and Chilliwack

Search efforts were concentrated along the Highway 5 corridor between Valemount and Kamloops

Why Whistler for ski jumping in 2026? Calgary proposal gets pushback

Calgary 2026 proposes re-using the 2010 ski jumping venue Whistler for that sport and nordic

Despite progress, threat of 232 tariffs dominates NAFTA negotiations

Any deal is seen to require congressional approval before Dec. 1 to survive new Mexican government

VIDEO: Hundreds line highway as family brings home body of B.C. teen

Northern B.C. showed their support by lining Hwy 16 as Jessica Patrick’s body returned to Smithers.

B.C. MP Todd Doherty receives award for saving man who collapsed on a plane

Conservative MP was flying from Vancouver to Prince George, B.C., in June last year

Alleged border jumper from Oregon facing 2 charges after police chase in B.C.

Colin Patrick Wilson charged with dangerous operation of motor vehicle, flight from a peace officer

More than 35 B.C. mayors elected without contest

No other candidates for mayor in the upcoming local election in 22 per cent of B.C. cities

Most Read