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13 Reasons Why & Suicide


13 Reasons Why is a controversial book and graphic movie depicting [dramatizing] teen suicide. Despite sparking a much needed conversation, mental health professionals, school counselors, parent organizations, and the media present contrasting views on the content of the book and the substance and serialized structure of the movie. “School districts have issued warnings about the show and the National Association of School Psychologists has published a set of guidelines for educator and parents.” Many suggest teens 13-17 years of age be prevented from reading the book or watching the movie, while others view it as a catalyst to initiate conversation between parents and teens. In New Zealand the rating on the movie was changed “signaling the strong content and emphasizing the essential role of parents and caregivers in discussing the content. The new rating meant someone under the age of 18 must view the series with supervision of a parent or guardian.” In the U.S., ratings have been changed and warnings added, however, free flow and easy access of media makes absolute control impossible. Improving Lives Counseling Services strongly suggests early assessment and intervention through mental health check-ups for children, adolescents, teens, and adults.

In February 2016, The Guardian reported, “Montana officials wrestle to explain why the state has the highest rate of suicide in the U.S. at nearly twice the national average – and it’s rising.” The death rate of white Americans aged 45-54 increased by 20% between 2000 and 2014. After years of declining, in 2012, suicide was the second leading cause of death in adolescent girls. Today addiction, isolation, poverty, bullying, depression, despair, and mental illness are considered suicidal triggers. Other’s link the uptick to unemployment, access to health care, traumatic experiences, and chronic pain. In 2016, USA Today reported, “The number of suicides among troops was 145 in 2001 and began a steady increase until more than doubling to 321 in 2012, the worst year in recent history for servicemembers killing themselves.” In 2016, The Military Times quoted a VA study which found 20 veterans commit suicide each day. Despite these numbers, mental health stigma remains a barrier to accessing care. Hostile attitudes, discrimination, and assumed perceptions engulf the stigmas attributed to mental health care. Improving Lives Counseling Services offers assessment, diagnosis, and treatment for suicidal thoughts, behaviors, and attempts in a calm, safe, therapeutic environment.

There is no single reason why someone may try to take their own life. There is no list of 13 concrete reasons an adolescent or teen might try and take their own life. There is no single mental disorder or cause of suicidal behavior; it is a disease with warning signs and triggers. Depression, anxiety, stress, loneliness, sexual identify, culture, religion, race, and environment – very different in definition, yet identical in the ability to prompt suicidal thoughts or behaviors. Addiction, affordable health care, a life-threatening diagnosis, a dysfunctional household, or the death of a loved one can elicit suicidal thoughts. The treatment of suicidal thoughts and behavior depends on assessment, situation, risk, and underlying conditions. Psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and counseling are targeted restorative therapies. Suicidal thoughts, behaviors and/or attempts require immediate intervention and treatment.

Healthy, happy, well-balanced teens commit suicide. Strong, healthy well-trained soldiers commit suicide. Suburban moms, Silicon Valley techies, Wall Street Johnnies, lawyers, doctors, and farmers commit suicide. Improving Lives Counseling Services suggest mental health check-ups for children, adolescents, teens and adults. We offer individual, couples, family, and group sessions, accept most insurances and we take SoonerCare. Early diagnosis, assessment, and treatment can prevent a crisis and save a life. Our team of trained, licensed professional counselors and therapists are here to help. You are not alone. Protect yourself and your loved ones. Call us to learn more.