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How to talk with your teen about 13 Reasons Why

Moms, dads and schools are grappling with how to talk with their kids about the popular new Netflix series “13 Reasons Why,” the story of a suburban teen who dies by suicide and leaves behind 13 recordings for the people she says were the reasons she killed herself. The tapes encapsulate everything from betrayal to romantic relationships gone bad to bullying to sexual assault.

The show is graphic, culminating in fictional teen Hannah Baker’s suicide scene in the last episode. It’s rated M for mature viewers, but ask any high school student (and most middle school kids, too) and it’s likely you’ll hear they’ve watched it or heard all about it through friends and social media.

Some mental health professionals are warning that teens shouldn’t view it, especially those struggling with depression or with a history of suicidal thoughts or behaviors , but it may be too late for some parents whose children have already watched on their own.

If your child has seen the show or is curious about it, Dr. Christine Moutier, chief medical officer of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention  has some advice: “Offer to watch it with them,” Moutier told CBS News.

But she says it’s not for every teen. 

“I would watch it if your kid is in a solid state of mental health. If you have a kid who is struggling or is some years out from a mental health issue — anyone who’s had a suicide attempt or become suicidal — they should just stay away from this show,” Moutier said.

Kids with a genetic risk factor for depression or a family history of suicide are also vulnerable to the show’s messaging and imagery, she said.

The mysterious nature of the series — the viewer follows teenager Clay Jensen as he listens to each tape, uncovering bit by bit the story behind Hannah’s decision to end her life — may make it tempting to watch all 13 episodes in one fell swoop. But avoid binge-watching it, Moutier recommends.

“Approach it in a tiered way by watching one episode every so often. Binge-watching anything is just going to flood your brain,” she said.

A mother of two teenagers, she said her own daughter was interested in seeing “13 Reasons Why.”

“My daughter had already read the book before I knew anything about it,” she said.

So they are watching it together. Knowing it had graphic sexual assault and suicide scenes, they agreed beforehand that they’d fast-forward through those parts.

“With my own daughter, she and I have already agreed we will figure out where those scenes are and not look at those,” said Moutier.

Any teen who’s experienced a sexual assault should avoid the show, she advised, saying, “Those scenes will be very triggering.”

Parents should shore up their knowledge about suicide prevention before watching “13 Reasons” with their teen or talking about it with a child who has already seen it, so they’re prepared to respond and answer questions. The American Foundation


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States with the highest child vaccine rates

Vaccines have made huge inroads over recent decades – dramatically shrinking the numbers of people affected by potentially deadly diseases such as measles, whooping cough, influenza and polio.

But an additional 1.5 million deaths could be prevented across the globe if more people were immunized, says the World Health Organization.

U.S. medical experts spoke with CBS News for World Immunization Week (April 24 – 30) and raised concern about the number of Americans who still aren’t vaccinating their children or getting their own shots, which continues to fuel preventable disease outbreaks.

For example, the U.S. saw a spike in mumps cases last year. In 2016, there were approximately 5,748 cases reported to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, compared to 229 cases in 2012. Already this year, 1,965 mumps cases have been reported to the CDC.

Colleges have been particularly hard hit by the mumps . In 2015-2016, the two largest outbreaks happened in Iowa and Illinois, each involving several hundred university students. And this week, University of Minnesota health officials are warning students about a mumps outbreak on campus where at least six people have been affected.

The  MMR vaccine , given as a two-dose series, protects against measles, mumps and rubella and could reduce those numbers, said Dr. Gregory Poland, who studies the immunogenetics of vaccine response in adults and children, and heads up the Vaccine Research Group at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

Data from the American Academy of Pediatrics shows which states have the best track records for getting children vaccinated for some of the most common preventable childhood diseases:

• Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR vaccine)

• Diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough also called pertussis (DTaP vaccine)

• Chickenpox (varicella vaccine)

Maine, Massachusetts, Nebraska and Rhode Island are in the top 10 states with the highest vaccination rates for all three.


CBS News

The  measles virus  is of particular concern to experts because it can make children seriously ill and may be fatal, posing a particular risk to babies too young to get vaccinated.

“It’s among the most contagious diseases of human kind. If you’re across the gymnasium from someone with measles and they cough, you can get it,” said Dr. Sean O’Leary, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics and an associate professor of pediatric infectious disease at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital Colorado.

In 2015, there were 134,200 measles deaths worldwide. In the U.S., 28 measles cases from 10 states have been reported between January and March of this year. The majority of people who came down with the virus were unvaccinated.

The MMR vaccine doesn’t offer total protection, but after two doses, 97 percent of people are protected, say experts. Immunization resulted in a 79 percent drop in measles deaths between 2000 and 2015 worldwide.

Who isn’t vaccinating?

There are generally two types of people who don’t vaccinate their children or themselves, the Mayo Clinic’s Poland told CBS News.

“On one end of the

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