School Services

EMSB Advises Schools on 13 Reasons Why

Montreal - Wednesday, May 23, 2018

EMSB Director of Student Services Lew Lewis explains that the original season raised attention internationally and gained popularity among students.  The show told the story of a high school girl who commits suicide and leaves behind audio tapes that recount how 13 people she feels are responsible for her action.  The series is based on a book and the series displays the sequence of events including the actual suicide in a very graphic manner.

In Season 2, Netflix has now put into place warnings and resources (American) before and after the show. However, concerns that may impact children and youth, particularly those at risk, may surface. “Many children and youth have watched the series without their parent’s knowledge and many more are likely to watch it,” said Mr. Lewis.  “They may also be binge-watching Season 1, which does not have those resources in place and thus remains a significant concern.”

With this in mind, Student Services has provided documentation from the NASAP, including a reference to an on-line toolkit which contains very pertinent information for parents, educators and clinicians. There is also a list of Tips and Facts on suicide which the EMSB has issued annually as part of Suicide Awareness Week.

“Staff should not create teaching or group activities around this show,” Mr. Lewis warns. “However, should students speak openly about the show, guide the conversation towards critical thinking and reinforce the message that, when students experience distress, they can seek out help from adults.”

Psychologist Despina Vassiliou, the coordinator of the EMSB Mental Health Resource Centre, is making herself available for schools.

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