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Library To Hold Community Conversation on ‘13 Reasons Why’

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Library To Hold Community Conversation on ‘13 Reasons Why’
Posted on 05/25/2017
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On Wednesday, May 31, the Portland Public Library is offering teens and adults an opportunity to have a timely conversation about “13 Reasons Why,” a Netflix series that many teenagers have watched, but that has a theme of suicide and other sensitive topics.  

Teens and adults, including parents, caregivers, and teachers, all will have the chance to discuss the controversy around the series and its departures from the novel on which it is based with local professionals from NAMI Maine, SARSSM, YAAPP, and more.  Guest experts at the community conversation will include a Portland Public Schools social worker and a school librarian.

Teen can join in an intimate, teens-only discussion in the Teen Library at 4 p.m., and also in the larger community conversation in the library’s Rines Auditorium at 5:30 p.m.

The controversial series is based on a young adult novel by Jay Asher, which recently marked its 10th anniversary in print, called “Thirteen Reasons Why.” The series and the book revolve around a teenager who takes her own life and leaves behind audio recordings for 13 people who she says in some way were part of why she killed herself.

The series depicts some adults as being unhelpful and unsupportive.  Portland Public Schools takes the support of its students very seriously and has professionals available to work with students and their families.

Guest experts at the community conversation will include:

Allegra Hirsh-Wright, LCSW, Training Manager, Department of Clinical Innovation, Maine Behavioral Healthcare

Greg Marley, LCSW, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Maine

Melissa McStay, LCSW, Deering High School Social Worker

Devon Mulligan, Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine (SARSSM)

Jenna Rodrigues, Young Adult Abuse Prevention Program of Family Crisis Services (YAAPP)

Meg Rooks, Librarian, Portland Public Schools

Barrett Wilkinson, MPP, Prevention Coordinator, Portland Defending Childhood, City of Portland Public Health Division

For more information, go to: https://www.portlandlibrary.com/highlight/reasons-need-talk-13-reasons/#sthash.LwYlkJcK.dpuf

The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) does not recommend that vulnerable youth, especially those who have any degree of suicidal ideation, watch this series. Its powerful storytelling may lead impressionable viewers to romanticize the choices made by the characters and/or develop revenge fantasies. They may easily identify with the experiences portrayed and recognize both the intentional and unintentional effects on the central character.

Here is helpful information regarding the series from the JED Foundation: https://www.jedfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/13RW-Talking-Points-JED-SAVE-Netflix.pdf