Indiana Psychological Association News

PsychBytes: What You Need to Know about This Show: 13 Reasons Why


What You Need to Know about This Show: 13 Reasons Why
In addition to seeing the show 13 Reasons Why advertised in my Netflix account, I have heard about it from several clients and friends who are parents of teenagers. If you are not familiar with the premise, it is about a high school girl who died by suicide and left behind a series of cassette tapes for a select group of peers. On the tapes, she recounted the reasons she decided to take her own life. In addition to suicide, the show presents issues such as bullying, drug use, underage drinking, and sexual assault. All of these issues are filmed, not just discussed. As there are many opportunities for parents to engage in important discussions with their children about these topics, it may be helpful to watch the series together, or even before your child does, in order to decide if the content is age-appropriate. For those who prefer reading, the show is based on a book (same title) by Jay Asher.
Also on Netflix is a debriefing episode titled, 13 Reasons Why: Beyond the Reasons. I would recommend watching this episode as well. It provides more insight into the decisions made by the producers/director and gives the actors’ perspectives on the show. Dr. Michelle Reising, Clinical Psychologist at Vanderbilt University, raised 13 issues with Netflix in a letter to the company and provides resources for families and adolescents experiencing some of the difficulties discussed in the series.
Additionally, please take advantage of these resources for teens who may be facing these issues: (specifically for youth)
Crisis text line: or text 741741 to start a conversation
Aarika V. White, Ph.D., HSPP
Chair, IPA Communication Committee
Member, IPA Practice Committee
Comprehensive MedPsych Systems - Indianapolis

"PsychBytes” is a weekly educational resource from the Indiana Psychological Association (IPA) provided for psychologists, their colleagues and their patients.