Season 2 of 13 Reasons Why gives parents many opportunities to talk with their teen about what it’s like to be a teen. Your child is the expert on this particular subject. Ask questions and listen as they talk about what is going on in their lives, with their friends, and at school.
Use the following discussion guide to jumpstart conversations about the themes especially poignant in episodes 6, 7 and 8. For tips for talking to your teen about suicide, dating violence, sexual assault, loneliness and other topics addressed during season 2, read through our discussion guides for the first five episodes.
Episodes 6, 7 & 8
Teens can experience loss in many ways beyond the death of a friend. For instance, breakups, moving, changing schools, fighting with friends and parents going through a divorce can all result in a teen feeling a great sense of loss.
We see examples of loss as Clay deals with Hannah’s death and his breakup with Skye.
Jessica experiences a loss after Alex’s suicide attempt. Even though Alex survives, he and his relationships have changed, which is a theme Jessica deals with throughout the second season.
Sometimes adults forget to pay attention to some of the losses teens experience. Life experience tells us that eventually, everything will be okay. But for teens who don’t have the benefit of prior experience, the loss and pain they are experiencing is not only real but can be consuming.
- Discussion Tip: Ask your teen how they feel about different events that have caused them a sense of loss. Remember to listen. While a breakup or fight with a friend may seem insignificant to you, it is very real for teens and they may need your help to work through feelings about the situation.
Theme: Warning Signs
Prevention specialists, whose job it is to teach others about the warning signs surrounding suicide, find 13 Reasons Why extremely frustrating. There are frequent warning signs and cries for help that go unrecognized or are recognized and then ignored. Just a few of these warning signs include:
- Hannah writing notes and poems about suicide
- Hannah telling her friends she’s struggling
- Hannah talking with her school counselor
- Zach telling his mom he has thought about suicide
- Discussion Tip: There is a myth that talking about suicide will plant the idea in your teen’s head, and it’s simply not true. Ask your child if he or she has ever thought about suicide. It’s also a good idea to talk with your teen about the warning signs of suicide. You can get a list of warning signs at TeenLifeline.org.
- If your teen has noticed any of these warning signs in their friends, brainstorm ways to help. For instance, your teen could notify a school counselor or ask the friend directly if they are considering suicide. Call Teen Lifeline at 602.248.8336 if you want additional ideas for how your teen can help a friend or classmate who is struggling.
During these episodes, Clay goes to visit Skye in an in-patient treatment center. These two scenes are some of the best in the series because they address many of the myths around what it means to get treatment. The behavioral health center where Skye is staying is clean and filled with ordinary people trying to get better. In just minutes, Clay asks Skye the questions most people have about the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. Skye also points out that while treatment works, she has to work at it. She takes responsibility for herself and her mental health.
- Discussion Tip: Ask your child what they think mental health treatment is like and if anything about the scene with Skye surprised them. If your child has asked for help, make sure they know the steps you are taking. Keep your teen informed if you are waiting for a call back, are on a waiting list or have made an appointment for them.
- A lot of teens we talk to think their parents aren’t trying or don’t care, when in reality, parents are working on getting their teen help, but just haven’t communicated where they are in the process.
For a more in-depth discussion of episodes 6, 7 and 8, watch our Facebook Live video at Facebook.com/TeenLifeline/videos. We had some audio difficulties during the beginning moments of this Facebook Live, so fast forward to the four-minute mark to hear what our prevention specialists have to say.
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If your teen is currently struggling, Teen Lifeline is always here to listen and to help. Your teen can call or text 602-248-8336 to talk to a trained teen counselor.
If you’re a parent concerned about your son or daughter that is a teen, we are here for you, too! Visit our help page here.
Teachers, if you are worried about a student, we have some vital tips and helpful information so you know your next steps!