Current News for Parents
Dear Mt. Healthy City School Families;
As you may be aware, there is a new show on Netflix called 13 Reasons Why, based on the John Asher book by the same name. While it is one of the most popular and viewed shows on Netflix right now, it has caused much concern over its content. The show deals with suicide, bullying, and several other difficult topics with teenagers. It is the story of a 17 year-old high school girl who leaves behind tapes after her suicide. The story traces the events that led to her decision to end her life. The main concern from many in the medical and mental health field is that the show sensationalizes teen suicide, especially for those already struggling and those who are supporting friends. Some Behavioral Health experts believe this show could do more harm than good – especially for youth who may be isolated, struggling, or vulnerable to suggestive images and storylines.
As a school community we are highly mindful of our responsibility in student mental health and wellness as well as potential risk factors for suicide. We encourage families to use the following resources to assist you in the conversations with your children.
We hope you’ll use this information to remind your children about the importance of seeking support from you and from other caring adults in their lives when they are feeling overwhelmed. If you have an immediate youth safety/suicide concern, call 911 or the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center Psychiatric Intake Response Center at 513-636-4124. Also, please don’t hesitate to contact one of the school counselors for assistance as well in a non-emergency situation. As we are a community, we are here to support you in the emotional, educational, and social development of all children at Mt. Healthy City Schools.
GUIDANCE FOR FAMILIES
- Ask your child if they have heard or seen the series 13 Reasons Why. While we don’t recommend that they be encouraged to view the series, do tell them you want to watch it, with them or to catch up, and discuss their thoughts.
- If they exhibit any of the warning signs above, don’t be afraid to ask if they have thought about suicide or if someone is hurting them. Raising the issue of suicide does not increase the risk or plant the idea. On the contrary, it creates the opportunity to offer help.
- Ask your child if they think any of their friends or classmates exhibit warning signs. Talk with them about how to seek help for their friend or classmate. Guide them on how to respond when they see or hear any of the warning signs.
- Listen to your children’s comments without judgment. Doing so requires that you fully concentrate, understand, respond, and then remember what is being said. Put your own agenda aside.
- Get help from a school-employed or community-based mental health professional if you are concerned for your child’s safety or the safety of one of their peers.
See Preventing Youth Suicide Brief Facts (also available in Spanish) and
Preventing Youth Suicide: Tips or Parents and Educators for additional information.
Suicide Risk Factors
Although far from perfect predictors, certain characteristics are associated with increased odd of having suicidal thoughts. These include:
- Mental illness including depression, conduct disorders, and substance abuse.
- Family stress/dysfunction.
- Environmental risks, including presence of a firearm in the home.
- Situational crises (e.g., traumatic death of a loved one, physical or sexual abuse, family violence).
Suicide Warning Signs
Most suicidal youth demonstrate observable behaviors that signal their suicidal thinking. These include:
- Suicidal threats in the form of direct ("I am going to kill myself") and indirect ("I wish I could fall asleep and never wake up again") statements.
- Suicide notes and plans (including online postings).
- Prior suicidal behavior.
- Making final arrangements (e.g., making funeral arrangements, writing a will, giving away prized possessions).
- Preoccupation with death.
- Changes in behavior, appearance, thoughts and/or feelings.
More information can be found at http://www.nasponline.org/resources-and-publications/resources/school-safety-and-crisis/preventing-youth-suicide/preventing-youth-suicide-tips-for-parents-and-educators.