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Austin schools want parents to know the warning signs of suicide for the next season of ’13 Reasons Why’

Nicole Villalpando
nvillalpando@statesman.com

On Friday, Netflix released the second season of “13 Reasons Why,” the show based on the book by Jay Asher, that is a suicide letter to people in a teen’s life after her suicide.

I got this letter from my daughter’s middle school counseling team:

Even if your children are not watching the show, they may be hearing about it from their peers. Counselors and administrators are addressing concerns as they are brought to our attention. We take every report we receive seriously.

RELATED: Is your preteen, teen suicidal? Some hard facts about kids and mental health

Schools have an important role in preventing youth suicide, and being aware of potential risk factors is vital. We would like to ask you to partner with AISD to help students in need. You can make a world of difference by following these three simple steps:

Know the warning signs of suicidal ideation:

  • Talking or joking about suicide.
  • Seeking out weapons, pills or other ways to die.
  • Making statements about feeling hopeless, helpless or worthless.
  • Writing social media posts about death, dying or suicide.
  • Giving away prized possessions.
  • Saying goodbye to friends and family as if for good.
  • Changes in behavior can also be a warning sign:
    • Changes in school attendance or grades.
    • Changes in eating and sleeping habits.
    • Increased use of alcohol and/or drugs.
    • Change in friendships, or withdrawing from friends and social activities.
    • Mood swings or personality changes.
    • Loss of interest in activities.
    • Bullying (both the victim of bullying and the bully are at risk.)

Talk to your children:

  • Let your children know you care.
  • Do not be afraid to ask your children if they have or are thinking about suicide.

Seek help:

RELATED: Dell Children’s opens new 24-unit mental health unit Monday

I would also add these statistics given to us by Karen Ranus, the executive director of National Alliance on Mental Illness Austin: