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'13 Reasons Why`: Live Event Summary & Resources

By Jennifer Cheang, MHA Digital Marketing Manager and America Paredes, MHA Senior Director of Partnerships and Community Outreach

Thank you all for joining us on a frank and honest discussion on your thoughts on media portrayal, messaging, mental health, outreach, and awareness – especially during Mental Health Month. ‘13 Reasons Why’ (13RW) provided a unique opportunity to catalyze the discussion and we thank you for your views, recommendations, and resources.

The event was viewed by over 10,000 people. The video was shared 189 times and received nearly 200 real-time comments that discussed different perspectives on mental health portrayal in the media and the importance of education, access, and support.

Mental Health America (MHA) received a significant number of inquiries asking for our position on the series, particularly since our 2016 Annual Conference theme focused on Media, Messaging, and Mental Health. But, as you may have noticed, MHA held off on a public statement on the series much longer than other national mental health organizations.

We did that with purpose.

We wanted our focus to be on engaging in an open conversation rather than releasing a statement. MHA prides itself on being a consumer-advocacy organization, meaning we value the voices of those with lived experiences – peers – and we wanted to ensure that peers were at the table as part of this discussion.

The 13RW discussion emphasized the need to talk through difficult subjects – to get our feelings out, to be heard, to bounce our perspective off others and see where our viewpoints or experiences fall in comparison. Even within our office, those who watched the series, either as peers, mental health professionals, caretakers, survivors, or family members, all had different positions on how they felt – all of which were valid and understandable.

As an organization, we felt it was important to not only enable conversation that involved varying perspectives, but we also wanted to share the great work that our partner organizations are doing as well to provide guidelines and active support in response to the release of the series.

We encourage you to watch the recorded Facebook Live discussion (we apologize for the technical difficulties) so that you can come to your own decisions about the series.

You can watch the Facebook Live discussion in full here.

Read through the comments, share your own, and think through the varying perspectives that were represented.

We aren’t here to tell you what to think when it comes to 13RW, because YOU know yourself, your experiences, your families, and your communities best.

Finally, since so many resources and information were shared as part of the discussion by MHA staff, we have pulled these together for your reference.

MHA Resources:

Mental Health Screens 
Taking a mental health screening is one of the quickest and easiest ways to determine whether you are experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition. There are 10 professionally-validated screens, including a Youth Screen, that are anonymous and secure. Following screening, you will be provided with information, resources and tools to discuss the results with a provider.

The 2016 Mental Health Month #mentaillnessfeelslike campaign focused on helping individuals engage in conversation as a way to let others know how life with a mental illness feels. This sharing helps build support from friends and family, reduces stigma and discrimination, and is crucial to recovery. Whether you are in Stage 1 and just learning about those early symptoms, or are dealing with what it means to be in Stage 4, sharing how it feels can be part of recovery.

MHA’s Inspire Community
The Inspire community is a secure mental health support group where individuals with lived experience can interact with others, share their stories, and find support/advice. The option to remain anonymous is available.

Mental Health First Aid Training
You may know CPR and the Heimlich maneuver. You can call 911. But can you administer first aid in a mental health crisis? It’s easy to tell when someone is having a heart attack, is choking, or can’t breathe. But what does depression look like? Or anxiety? What would you say to a person you know who says they are thinking about suicide? How can you help in a panic attack? Getting trained as a Mental Health First Aider is a first step in helping you to be prepared.

13 Resources for “13 Reasons Why” by MHA President and CEO Paul Gionfriddo
Additional resources shared in the comments by viewers were catalogued in a previous blog post by MHA’s President and CEO, Paul Gionfriddo. Get the list of additional resources here.

Does new Netflix show send wrong message about suicide?
MHA of Lancaster County was interviewed by WGAL on ’13 Reasons Why.’ Executive Director Scooter Haase provides valuable talking points on the subject.

13 Resources for “13 Reasons Why” Conversations

By Paul Gionfriddo, MHA president and CEO


On Wednesday, May 3rd, five Mental Health America staff people held an honest, hour-long Facebook live conversation about the Netflix show “13 Reasons Why,” about suicide, and about suicide prevention.

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