Growing concern in Quebec over risks of Netflix series '13 Reasons Why'
There is growing concern in Quebec about the Netflix series ‘13 Reasons Why’ and what effect it might have on teenagers at risk for suicide.
Those on the front lines say they are seeing crisis situations they believe are linked to the show.
The show centres around the character Hannah Baker's suicide and how she leads her classmates to piece together the 13 reasons she did it.
The show has been widely criticized for simplifying and some say even glorifying suicide.
Teachers and healthcare professionals are debating how to approach the topic - if at all.
Some Canadian schools have banned any mention of the series, while others in Quebec are instead warning teachers to proceed with caution.
In a letter to school and healthcare professionals, Quebec is following in Ontario's footsteps by urging against using the show as teaching tool.
It goes further by advising against in-class discussions about suicide, instead asking staff to focus on identifying those at risk and helping them.
“Maybe a helpful strategy would be to call in those students and have an open chat with them and see how they're doing,” said psychologist Dr. Samantha Goldwater-Adler, adding that what no one can afford to do is ignore the show she’s hearing about from troubled teens.
“Those that have struggled with depression or with self-harm or suicidal thoughts have found the show really triggering. It’s a very graphic sensationalized depiction of what suicide is,” she said.
In response to the backlash, Netflix has added an extra warning at the start of the series and has posted a video on its Facebook page, encouraging parents to get involved
The English Montreal School Board is taking the same approach, with letters to all parents.
“I think parents have to be educated and make decisions and sometimes when you know your own child, you can make a better decision than we ever could,” said EMSB chair Angela Mancini.
The message to parents is to let their teens know what they're not seeing on the show – that in real life, there's help and hope.