Netflix Gets it Wrong

By Helen Sullivan, APR, Fellow PRSA

Netflix is making a big mistake in airing its new 13-episode drama, “13 Reasons Why.” The series is based on a book by Jay Asher that chronicles a young teen who ultimately commits suicide. There is a graphic depiction of the suicide in the program.

Why does this matter to those in parking? An IPI survey last year found that about 50 percent of parking organizations surveyed have experienced a suicide or attempt. Garages often have open sides for ventilation, allow people to enter with few to no security checkpoints, and aren’t always staffed on every level, and are too often places where people considering suicide go. More suicides occur at parking facilities associated with Veterans Administration and other hospitals serving those suffering from psychiatric illness, but as too many of you reading this know, suicide attempts often also happen at college and university, municipality, and airport parking facilities.

An article about the potentially dangerous ramifications of this new show and its glorification of suicide appeared in The Washington Post yesterday. Quoted throughout the article is Dan Reidenberg, Psy.D, executive director of Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE). Reidenberg was an enormous help to our dedicated Parking Matters® subcommittee when IPI published Suicide in Parking Facilities: Prevention, Response, and Recovery last year.

The free IPI publication offers critical guidelines and resources for parking organizations and a related webinar is part of our archives. IPI also arranged with Reidenberg to provide customized, on-site parking facility-specific, suicide prevention, response, and recovery training program at a substantially discounted rate for members. Contact me at sullivan@parking.org if you want more information about that.

We must all be vigilant, but particularly during the airing of this program that may well encourage its viewers to act.

Helen Sullivan, APR, Fellow PRSA, is IPI’s communications counsel.

2 thoughts on “Netflix Gets it Wrong

  1. I watched this Netflix series and I think it is wonderful to show how young teens struggle with home, school and social issues (she witnessed a rape). I thought it was remarkably done. I do believe the makers of this series are seeking to give a bigger message – and that is – for young adults to seek out help no matter what.

    The series showed every perspective on young social issues but especially was how so many young adults have or are going through the same thing. A great message is that all families, friends and educators really need to be in sync with young adults and listen to them. Many times they are overwhelmed with the every changing world in which they live.

    Parents of young adults take the opportunity to sit with them and watch this film. Talk about it the real social issues. I think it should be played in schools/college campuses to open up conversations. It is about suicide prevention not about promoting suicide attempt.

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