A Netflix series on teenage suicide is raising concerns among educators and mental health professionals, over its impact on potentially vulnerable children who might binge-watch the show, without adult supervision.
The series, titled "13 Reasons Why", has been a popular show for the internet stream service, and it is raising awareness about young people and suicide, and some are concerned that impressionable kids going through an emotional crisis who watch this show could be harmed themselves.
The multi-part Netflix series revolves around a girl named Hannah Baker, a 17-year-old who took her own life, and left tape recordings for 13 people, each of whom she said had something to do with her decision to kill herself.
The series, according to Netflix, is rated TV-MA.
"Any time it is deemed we are sensationalizing the concept of suicide, it does bring a level of concern for us educators," said Dr. Milissa Sackos, Executive Director of Student Services for the Scottsdale Unified School District.
Dr. Goshawn Chawla with the Banner Behavioral Health Hospital said the show raises valid issues, but is worried about kids binge-watching it without adults around.
"How can a child coming home from school after 3:00 p.m. or 4:00 p.m. watch a 12 or 13-hour show back to back?" said Chawla. "Where are the caregivers? That's the main concern I have."
Meanwhile, the Scottsdale Unified School District has sent a letter home to parents. It reads, in part:
We are concerned that the series does not convey healthy ways to cope, how to help a friend suffering from depression and, most importantly, that depression is a treatable disease.
The letter also included helpful talking points for parents, and urges them to contact student guidance counselors for assistance.