A Will To Live- Life Teammates® Blog!
13 Reasons To Talk….
People are Talking About Teen Suicide – and that’s a good thing.
The Will To Live Foundation was formed 6.5 years ago to get people “talking”. Talking about teen suicide and the fact that it is an epidemic in America.
- Every 2 hours a teenager takes his or her life in America.
- 90% of all suicides are the result of some form of depression or other diagnosable mental disorder.
This is extremely important for all of us to understand. Suicide is the result of depression – not revenge. It is not a choice – or a character flaw – it is the result of an illness – that can be treated – but only if we are talking about it!
There is an extremely popular show on Netflix right now – called “13 Reasons Why”. Our kids are watching it –
YOUR KIDS ARE WATCHING THIS SHOW
It is important for you to know that.
I am not telling you or them not to watch it!
I AM TELLING YOU THAT THEY ARE WATCHING IT AND THIS IS AN EXCELLENT TIME FOR YOU TO TALK ABOUT TEEN SUICIDE / DEPRESSION AND THE CHALLENGES OF BEING A TEENAGER TODAY – WITH THEM. (Something I never did with my son Will before he took his own life).
For the first time since the foundation started – I’m seeing schools sending flyers home to parents telling them to talk to their kids about this show. Not just hight schools – middle schools and elementary schools too. They are telling parents to talk about it – AND THAT IS A GOOD THING!
This is an opportunity for you to have that conversation with your kids about how hard it is today to be a teenager. This show does detail that.
SO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS OPPORTUNITY AND WATCH IT WITH THEM – THEN “TALK” AND “LISTEN”
There are many posts and articles out about this show that we should read and we should be aware of. I’ve added a link to one here. The fact that this show is about a suicide that has an aspect of revenge, scares me. The fact that this show implies to kids that asking for and looking for help is fruitless, also scares me. It also scares all the mental health experts and for good reason.
- They fear that this show could make suicide look almost glamorous, as the young girl who completes the act, sends tapes to all of the people who wronged her in the past.
- They fear that because this young lady, was unable to successfully find and get real help, will lead young kids to believe that she had no other option, that there is no opportunity for help.
- They fear that this show will influence real life kids to act in a way that this fictional lead character acted.
- They are right to fear these things.
I am here to tell you that suicide is not glamorous in any way. It is not – when my son completed suicide – glamorous was a word that was never used to describe that day – or the 6 and half years since. Tragic is a better word. This show does show the tragedy, and it does show the incredible difficulties and pressures that our kids face today, that are unlike what their parents went through when they were teens. Social media, 24/7 access to everything, creates an entirely new level of pressure that this show does highlight in a very convincing way.
So please – get with your teenagers – get with your kids and watch this show together (they will watch it without you – they probably already have). Talk about it – show you understand how hard it is for them (again, someting I wish I would have done with my son). Become a true trusted adult in the lives of your children – teach them to A.C.T. when they have a friend in need. Please do what our friends at Screening For Mental Health have taught us:
A: Acknowledge – life is hard – show understanding that you know it’s hard.
C: Care – show the love – be that life teammate – show the good
T: Tell a trusted adult – get treatment.
So – from a father who lost his son to suicide – I ask all of you to simply be aware – your kids will be watching a show about suicide that is extremely gripping and is extremely well done, hollywood, entertainment. It is also a show that the experts fear can be dangerous in that the suicide depicted on this FICTIONAL show could indeed lead to “copy cat” suicides in REAL life.
Yes – I’m a little nervous – a little scared – but I am also happy that we are talking about it – our kids want us to talk about it. Seize this opportunity.
If only I would have talked about it with my son Will…. sigh.
Sending love – and hope – and the Will to Live,
April 21, 2017