WellSpan Home

Previous Page

‘13 Reasons Why’ we must maintain a dialogue with our kids

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Mike Diller

Michael Diller, PsyD, Director,
WellSpan Employee Assistance Program

By Michael Diller, PsyD

Netflix has just released the much-anticipated second season of its original series “13 Reasons Why.”

Upon its release, the first season had quickly become one of the most-watched series in Netflix history – in just its first month.

For those of you who are not familiar with this series, the topics it covers are disturbing. They include suicide, rape and bullying. The goal behind the show has been to ignite conversations between adults and our youth.

This is a worthy goal, but many behavioral health professionals have expressed criticism and caution in reaction to the show – namely that it did not include the supportive resources that may be needed for those who watch the series.

The consequences of having these situations, emotions and scenarios brought to the foreground in viewers’ minds can have damaging consequences if the right support and dialogue do not accompany them.

All of this is occurring at a time when the statistics are very troubling. This time of the year (April, May and June) is actually when we see the highest rate of death by suicide.

At the same time, teen suicide rates remain at an all-time high. It has been either the No. 2 or No. 3 cause of death for children and teens for each of the last three years. Suicide deaths in individuals 17 years and younger rose 84 percent from 2007 to 2016. And for girls ages 10 to 14, the suicide rate rose a staggering 231 percent in the last decade.

We have to do more for our next generation – and we can.

It starts with having an awareness of emotional signs of distress, and then taking simple steps to engage and start a conversation. That conversation, and just taking the time to show that you care and are genuinely interested in the person, can actually save their life.

As teens and young adults watch “13 Reasons Why,” we have an opportunity to engage one another in a conversation about these topics.

Let’s use this TV series as an opportunity to break down the walls of stigma associated with mental health issues. Netflix, to its credit, has added resources to its website. In addition, the Jed Foundation has provided recommendations, resources and other materials on its website to help facilitate these conversations. Another great resource is 13reasonswhytoolkit.org.

It’s important that we recognize the signs of someone who is at risk of suicide and that we start the caring conversation – before an emotional crisis happens.

It has been said that caring creates resilience, and I firmly believe this to be true. The time is now. We can do better. We can make a difference.

And it starts with a conversation.

WellSpan Health and WellSpan Philhaven are committed to caring for your needs.  Help is available. WellSpan Philhaven has many resources for those who are struggling with mental health problems or in active crisis. For non-life-threatening emergencies, call WellSpan Philhaven Access at 1-800-932-0359 for information on how to rapidly get help. WellSpan Philhaven also offers walk-in appointments at five locations. You also can call your local crisis intervention hotline in your county. For those who want to learn how to help someone who is struggling with suicidal thoughts, WellSpan Philhaven also offers a free suicide prevention training class called QPR.

Michael Diller, PsyD, is a licensed psychologist and director of the WellSpan Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which is a confidential and voluntary program offered to employers to help their employees, spouses and dependent family members resolve a variety of challenging personal issues. For more information, visit www.WellSpan.org/EAP.

Are you sure you would like to cancel?

All information will be lost.

Yes No ×

About the provider search

This search will provide you with WellSpan Medical Group and Northern Lancaster County (Ephrata) Medical Group primary care physicians and specialists. If we don’t have a WellSpan Medical Group physician to meet your criteria, the search will expand to include community physicians who partner with WellSpan Medical Group physicians through the WellSpan Provider Network or provide care to patients on the Medical Staffs of WellSpan’s Hospitals.


Schedule Your Next Appointment Online with MyWellSpan

Use your MyWellSpan patient portal any time to view available appointments, and pick the date and time that best suits your schedule.

Go to MyWellSpan

New to this practice?

If you don't have a WellSpan primary care provider and would like to schedule a new patient appointment with a provider who is accepting patients, just log into your MyWellSpan account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to see the offices that are accepting new patients in relation to your zip code. If you are not enrolled in MyWellSpan, go to https://my.wellspan.org, call 1-866-638-1842 or speak with a member of the staff at a participating facility to sign up. New patient scheduling not available at all practices/programs.

Already a patient at this practice?

If you already have a relationship with a WellSpan practice, simply log into your account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to schedule an appointment with any provider or practice that already counts you as a patient. Online scheduling varies by practice/program.