School urges parents to talk to students about Netflix’s ‘13 Reasons Why’

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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- Netflix's series "13 Reasons Why" has been a critical success but its content has Millard Public Schools concerned.

Mental health experts fear the show could glorify teen suicide for those on the edge. MPS administrators agree - In a letter sent to parents Wednesday, school officials said, "In addition to suicide, the episodes expose viewers to numerous other social issues that could be difficult for young students to understand and process."

The letter, along with talking points for parents and their students, comes after teachers and staff noticed the series was trending among teens. The show is wildly popular on the streaming site and has earned a 91 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

The series is based on the popular book by Jay Asher. Fictional characters in the book try to piece together a story left behind by their classmate who died by suicide. That, along with a myriad of other issues — including a disturbing scene graphically showing Hannah's suicide — has mental health experts saying the series could be more harmful than helpful.

The school asked parents to talk with their students, even if they're not watching the show. The letter went on, "Please take a moment to talk with them and assure them help is available and suicide is never the answer."

Some mental health professionals feel it is a dangerous fantasy that romanticizes suicide.