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OHEL Children's Home and Family Services

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The Multiple Challenges Faced by Teenagers Today - OHEL Responds to Netflix Series

New York, NY, May 13, 2017 --( OHEL has received many inquiries regarding the recently released Netflix series, “13 Reasons Why,” which has become popular with many adolescents.

The show depicts very sensitive themes of teen suicide, depression, rape, bullying and shaming. There has been much criticism of the series, including its graphic portrayal of violence, glamorizing of suicide, and failure to depict responsible action on the part of the tormented protagonist and the responsible adults in her life.

The show has been rated for mature audiences only yet many students have viewed or will be viewing the series, including many yeshiva students.

If your child or student will be viewing the series, it is important that you engage him/her in conversation. The positive side of this series, is that it provides ample opportunity through its scenarios to flesh out some of the challenges that many teens experience today including addictions.

Processing the themes in the series is critically important to reinforce the message that effective help for feelings of despair, shame, and hopelessness is available and should be sought out - and that suicide only leaves greater despair and devastation in its wake. Every parent knows their own child. Don’t assume that if your child, of any age, hasn’t mentioned this film to you that they haven’t heard of it or watched it.

Some talking points below include:
* The ease in which extreme social shaming can occur, through social media, and it’s devastating consequences.
* The struggle of the teens in the series to connect to their well-meaning parents.
* The lack of any meaningful attempt to seek mental health treatment of the main characters in the show.
* No matter how dark the situation, there is always a choice to make and actions have consequences that cannot always be reversed.
* Thoughts of deep sadness, despair, hopelessness and suicide can be treated. Effective help for mental health issues is available and people can recover from these feelings.

It is important to listen to your teen to hear and understand, rather than to reply. Help them feel safe and understood. Allow them to share any thoughts or reactions they may have. Offer your own perspective and experience as a caring and invested parent.

In addition, OHEL has compiled a list of many existing professional resources on this topic:
Contact Information
OHEL Children's Home and Family Services
Sharon Mikhli / Derek Saker

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