CHICAGO - The Netflix series "13 Reasons Why" created a lot of buzz and concern among some area school districts. The series tells the fictional story of a teenager who took her own life and features teens dealing with several tough subjects, like depression, bullying, substance abuse and sexual assault.
Indian Prairie School District 204, which serves south west suburban Aurora, Bolingbrook, Plainfield and Naperville, sent a letter to parents last week, urging them to consider whether it's appropriate for their children to watch the series.
Ryan Alderman, director of Integrated Care Behavioral Health Services for Pillars Mental Health, explains some of the warning signs and how parents can talk with their children about suicide and other tough subjects.
Warning signs for depression
-Depressed mood and irritability, which can also manifest as aggression or behavioral problems in teenagers
-Decreased interest in enjoyable activities
-Changes in eating and sleeping habits
Warning signs for suicide
-Talking about being a burden, being in unbearable pain, or wanting to die
-Preparing for death by giving away possessions or visiting important people
-Increased drug or alcohol use
-Obtaining means with which to kill oneself
-Talking about suicide will increase the chances that someone dies from suicide. Talking about suicide is one of the best ways to prevent suicide.
-Suicide is caused by a failure by a person or those around them. Suicide is a health issue - and requires professional medical treatment.
If you need help or are concerned
There are two ways we approach suicide prevention. Pillars offera a 24-hour crisis team to stabilize urgent situations and help people avoid hospitalization. Pillars also puts a lot of emphasis on prevention and outpatient mental health programs that provide ongoing support to empower people to stay strong long-term.
There are six Pillars locations in the western and southwestern suburbs. To find out more about Pillars, visit www.pillarscommunity.org, call 708-PILLARS (708-745-5277) or follow Pillars on Facebook.