California Teachers Association

October / November 2017

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A S T H E S E C O N D S E A S O N of 13 Reasons Why prepares for release in 2018, there are new con- cerns from experts about potential risks posed by the sensationalized treatment of youth suicide. In Season 1 of the show, which is distributed by Netflix and filmed in part at Analy High School in Sebastopol, the series graphically depicted a bathtub suicide, and included scenes of bully- ing and rape in wrenching detail. There have been several reports of teens committing suicide after watching the show, which has attached warnings and resources at the beginning and end of each episode. Tim Paulson, a school psychologist for Davis Joint Unified School District, worries that 13 Reasons Why could glorify suicidal behavior, which may lead to an increase in suicides. He encourages educators to watch the show to better under- stand the challenges students face growing up in today's world — and to increase awareness of the problem and implement prevention strategies. "Ever y school district has suicides," says Paulson, a member of the Davis Teachers Association and the Cal- ifornia Association of School Psychologists. "It's very real." e National Association of School Psychol- ogists (NASP) discourages troubled teens from viewing 13 Reasons Why, but offers guidelines for educators to engage in supportive conver- sations with students who may be affected or traumatized, as well as advice to prevent or deal with harmful behaviors. "Educators need to be aware of these guide- lines," says Paulson. "ere could be a new wave of suicidal behavior related to Season 2 — or from an economic downturn in the foreseeable future that puts pressure on teens and their families." Hannah Baker, portrayed by Katherine Langford, in 13 Reasons Why. Courtesy Netflix Averting Harm Educator tips to prevent youth suicide By Sherry Posnick-Goodwin 66 cta.org Teaching & Learning S U I C I D E P R E V E N T I O N Tim Paulson

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