The TV series “13 Reasons Why” seems to be a popular show among the students at Atlantic High School and teens around the nation. Since its release on March 31st, it has been the most tweeted about show in 2017. The show tells the story of a teen named Hannah Baker who leaves behind 13 cassette tapes after committing suicide; each tape is directed towards a person who’s responsible for her suicide. The series, which feels too close to real life, is based on a fictional novel written by Jay Asher. “The show is out there. Everyone is talking about it,” said Azmaira Maker, a licensed clinical psychologist with a practice in Carmel Valley. “It is scaring parents, and I think there is a lot of anxiety around it. The show raises alarms and creates awareness, but it doesn’t give us the tools to deal with it. It doesn’t educate parents about warning signs, and it doesn’t talk about what we can do to help.”
Parents are becoming alarmed that the show may raise a negative influence among vulnerable teens. In 2014, suicide was the second leading cause of death for children and young adults ages 10 to 24, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The show suggests that suicide was the only way for Hannah to deal with her struggles. “We do not recommend that vulnerable youth, especially those who have any degree of suicidal ideation, watch this series,” the National Association of School Psychologists said in its five-page “13 Reasons Why” guide for educators and parents. Besides this, Netflix has added warnings before every episode.
On the other hand, some psychologists say that conversation about mental illness is better than no conversation at all. “From my point of view, to get people talking about it is a good thing,” says Tylee Silva. When asking other students around campus most of them seemed to agree and support the show. Netflix also seemed to support the show by announcing it has renewed the show for a second season. Although there isn’t a specific date set for the release of the second season, many are already excited for what it has to bring.