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

More funding for Harrison tourism projects on the horizon

Village could see increased funding by 2020

Most cows saved during massive fire on Agassiz farm thanks to fast work of farmers, neighbours

Agassiz Fire Department responded to late night call Wednesday

Risk of thunderstorm this afternoon for Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland

A special weather statement calls for heavy rain and wind over the next 48 hours

Massive fire destroys Agassiz dairy barn

Reports say at least one cow died in the blaze

Chilliwack firefighter seeking to reunite Rosedale VFD’s old auxiliary fire pump with antique engine

It’s been four decades, but Pat Liebault is hoping to reunite Rosedale’s auxiliary pump and engine

Conservation officer frees B.C. deer from flotation gear mishap

BC Conservation Officer Service is reminding residents to keep backyards clear of entanglements

Lions earn stunning 35-32 OT win over Ticats

Epic comeback lifts B.C. past Hamilton in CFL thriller

Czarnik nets 3 as Flames dump Canucks 5-2

Calgary picks up exhibition win over Vancouver

Ottawa to name new ambassador for women, peace and security, Freeland says

Chrystia Freeland also confirmed Canada would spend about $25 million to fund number of initiatives

‘A little bright spot:’ Ottawa residents rescue dog trapped beneath rubble

Freelance journalist says rescue of a dog trapped under rubble was happy ending amid chaos in Ottawa

B.C. deaf community wants different sign languages on federal accessibility act

Advocates also want Indigenous Sign Language to be recognized on the Indigenous Language Act

Remainder of Vancouver Whitecaps season filled with ‘must-win’ games: coach

With Vancouver currently sitting four points out of a post-season spot, each contest is crucial

VIDEO: B.C.-born firefighter remembered by MP in emotional speech

Family asks first responders to look after one another in wake of suicide, growing concerns of PTSD

Airline has ‘close call’ with drone while en route to B.C. airport

Jazz Aviation reported the drone sighting near Vancouver to the RCMP and Transport Canada

Most Read