Ask the Experts Riley Juntti
Q: What is the “13 Reasons Why NOT” campaign and why is it important?
A: 13 Reasons Why NOT” is a suicide prevention campaign that began at Oxford High School after the 2017 Netflix release of “13 Reasons Why.” One student each day for thirteen days spoke via loudspeaker to their peers, teachers and staff (over 1,800 people) and shared a story of emotional vulnerability; of a time they did not feel good enough.
Instead of placing blame however, as the series did, thirteen students thanked someone who helped them during a dark time. The students spoke of abuse, homophobia, body image, special needs and other sensitive issues that teens face but don’t usually share with others. One boy admitted to having been a bully to others.
Change within the school was seen instantly. Students began reaching out to one another, practicing help-seeking behavior, and putting up helpful posters with resource lists. Tardiness and bullying rates drastically dropped. Media feedback was instant and international with hundreds of news sources including NPR, USA Today, Nightline, and the Washington Post picking up the story. People reached out from every continent to thank Oxford for their efforts and wanted to start their own “13 Reasons Why NOT” campaign in their communities.
As suicide rates continue to rise in teens and young adults, programs like “13 Reasons Why NOT” are more critical than ever. Promoting the sharing of our stories in vulnerable and healthy ways will increase help-seeking and decrease loneliness within young people. Honest conversation within schools, communities, and homes will destigmatize suicide and mental illness to the point where it is less taboo to receive treatment.
Riley Juntti is an international public speaker and a certified crisis intervention counselor who teaches on using vulnerability to help those at risk for suicide. She uses both personal testimony from her battle with mental illness and hands-on work with youth to break silence and stigma around mental health. She is now the face of Netflix’s social campaign “Tell Them” which inspires story sharing to overcome struggle. Riley is currently earning her bachelor’s degree in clinical psychology at Oakland University.
SAVE THE DATE
Presented by The Family Center in partnership with CARE of Southeastern Michigan, Kevin’s Song, Henry Ford Health System and The War Memorial
13 Reasons Why NOT: Suicide Prevention and Creating a Culture of Support for Vulnerable Youth
10/9/19, 6:15pm (doors open at 6:00)
The War Memorial, 32 Lake Shore Drive, Grosse Pointe Farms
FREE – register online at familycenterweb.org or call 313.447.1374.