Netflix series' portrayal of teen suicide worries adults

May 02, 2017 06:59 PM

If you haven't sat down and watched the Netflix series, "13 Reasons Why," with your kids recently, area school officials are suggesting you do. It is a series on Netflix that has become extremely popular among teens. School officials are concerned because it deals with topics as difficult as they are graphic. In fact, a letter was recently sent home to parents from the superintendent of the Niskayuna Central School District about it. The Schodack Central School District also sent out a similar letter.

In the show, fictional character, Hannah, leaves behind tapes targeting the people she feels were instrumental in her taking her own life. The series is being talked about on social media and some kids are even binge watching it.

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"I've gotten through about episode three. I find it personally difficult to get through," admitted Laura Marx, the area director for the Capital Region Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

WEB EXTRA: Talking with your kids about mental illness

Her sentiments are exactly what districts are concerned about. Some think the series sensationalizes suicide. Bullying and rape are also dealt with. She says she's getting calls from schools and offering guidance.

"In '13 Reasons Why,' the counselor and some other people are kind of almost seen as someone who aren't providing help. What we really want people to know is people really do care. There is help available," Marx explained.

She and the schools suggest parents get involved too.

"If you're not sure if your child has watched the series, ask them, talk about it, watch it with them."

Marx's group is not calling for a ban of the series but suggests that teens who have contemplated suicide not watch it.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Click here to email Laura Marx


Elaine Houston

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