The hit Netflix series, ‘13 Reasons Why,’ is getting a lot of attention on how it irresponsibly romanticizes teen suicide. The series is about a high school student who leaves behind audio tapes for the 13 people she says contributed to her suicide. The show has been both praised and panned by viewers and has prompted discussion about depression, bullying, and suicide.

The series has also prompted many schools to send home letters to parents to make them aware of the show and the sensitive subject matter. Schools have also addressed this among their staff, however talking about it is just the beginning.

Here are 13 reasons why your school or district needs a competency-based professional learning program on suicide awareness and prevention:

  1. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for ages 10-24.1
  2. More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease, combined.1
  3. Each day in our nation, there are an average of over 5,240 suicide attempts by young people grades 7-12.1
  4. Four out of five teens who attempt suicide have given clear warning signs.2
  5. One out of three suicide deaths is not the individual’s first attempt.2
  6. Students who feel suicidal are not likely to seek help directly; however, parents, school personnel, and peers can recognize the warning signs and take immediate action to keep the youth safe.3
  7. Reinforcing resiliency factors can lessen the potential of risk factors that lead to suicidal ideation and behaviors.3
  8. School personnel have a legal and ethical responsibility to recognize and respond to suicidal thinking and behavior.4
  9. Schools must have clear policies and procedures for what to do, as well as trained school-employed mental health professionals and crisis response teams.4
  10. A trained school safety and crisis response team is essential to being able to identify and intervene effectively with students who are at risk of suicidal behavior.4
  11. The rate of suicide deaths among children ages of 10 and 14 has doubled from 2007 to 2014 according to the CDC.5
  12. Suicide contagion is the exposure to suicide or suicidal behaviors within one’s family, one’s peer group, or through media reports of suicide and can result in an increase in suicide and suicidal behaviors.6
  13. The greatest challenge among educators with regard to professional development is actually putting what they’ve learned into practice.7 So holding yet another seminar on suicide awareness and prevention is not enough.

‘13 Reasons Why’ was renewed for a second season — are you confident that your educators are really able to identify students that exhibit warning signs of suicide?

To help your school or district, BloomBoard’s competency-based micro-credential program, Suicide Awareness and Prevention Training, assists educational professionals in being able to identify risk factors, warning signs, and action steps regarding youth suicide awareness and prevention.

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