Suicide prevention among teens? Why are more young people attempting to take their own lives? In my home state of Indiana, we ranked third highest of 30 states cited by the 2017 Kids Count in Indiana Data Book in the percentage of high school students who have contemplated suicide (Indy Star, FEb. 27, 2017). It’s a nationwide problem, giving rise to TV series such as 13 Reasons Why. My colleague, Ingrid Peschke, writing for the May 12, 2017 edition of The HuffPost, provides ideas for parents and other caring adults who want to support the mental health and spiritual qualities of teens. Here’s Ingrid:
The new Netflix original TV series 13 Reasons Why prompted educators and mental health professionals to issue strong warnings to parents and schools. The series, based on the fictional book of the same name, has been trending on social media since its original release at the end of March. It chronicles the life of high school student Hannah Baker and the thirteen reasons she feels led to her suicidal death.
The initial media attention and educator warnings caused Netflix to issue their own advisories on the series’ graphic portrayal of sensitive topics. Many are worried vulnerable teens will watch the show without the help of a responsible adult to process the difficult themes, which include portraying suicide as almost inevitable, even romanticized, according to critics.
As a parent of teens, I’ve given a lot of thought to providing an open environment for discussing concerns in their lives. Our talks tend to veer in the direction of faith, since love for God and the wisdom of the Bible have provided an invaluable anchor for my children’s spiritual and character education.
As a Christian Scientist, I’ve learned to cultivate a habit of turning to prayer for guidance in supporting my children’s mental health and teaching them that they have control over the thoughts they choose to accept and act upon….