'13 Reasons Why' Tackles Teen Suicide; Kate Walsh Recommends School Viewing

By Claire Parker, Parent Herald April 26, 11:08 pm
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The new Netflix series called "13 Reasons Why," depicts the story of Hannah Baker and sheds some on teen suicide and mental health. PICTURED: Katherine Langford is the actress who plays the role of Hannah Baker in the series.
(Photo : Netflix US & Canada/YouTube)

Teen suicide remained as one of the top causes of death in teens and the new Netflix series titled "13 Reasons Why" tackles the issue. Many health experts believed the show might affect teens who have suicidal thoughts in a wrong way while actress Kate Walsh said it should be shown in schools.

The controversial series, "13 Reasons Why," revolved around the story of a teenager named Hannah Baker, played by Katherine Langford, who took her own life. She left 13 audio recordings on cassette tapes to another male teenager, revealing the reason why she ended her life.

The series premiered on March 31 and took the world by storm as the number of viewers continued to increase. Selena Gomez co-produced the Netflix show based on the 2007 book by Jay Asher of the same title.

Alexz Curtis, the founder of the program that raises awareness regarding online bullying called Media Impact and Navigation for Teens, said she herself experienced bullying in high school. If she watched the series back then, she could have taken her life just like Hannah Baker did. She did not encourage showing it in schools but she advised institutions to have an open conversation about the matter in health class.

Even though Curtis pointed out that kids who are known to be depressed should be taken to counselors, other mental health experts said that the show could actually help students with the same problem as Baker. The show could also aid other students to spot the warning signs of depression or suicidal tendencies.

Meanwhile, Walsh, one of the actresses on "13 Reasons Why" told AOL's BUILD Series event more about the show. Creators of the show tapped Walsh to play the role of Hannah Baker's mother, Olivia. She admitted that she had to think about saying yes to the project since she had to carry the energy of a parent who loses her child to suicide. Walsh revealed she talked to some parents who had the same fate.

Walsh said showing the Netflix show to schools could let students feel differently about the subject of suicide and mental illness. She accepted the fact that the issue is hard and ugly but she believed it should be seen and felt by students, AOL.com reported.

Between the ages of 10 and 24 years old, suicide is the third leading cause of death. Annually, 157,00 from that age bracket in the United States do self-inflicted wounds. In the United Kingdom, more than 15 out of 100,000 people, also from that age bracket, inflict injuries to themselves. In Australia, 50 people out of 100,000 have been given medical attention due to suicide attempts, CNN revealed.

Meanwhile, Netflix has yet to comment on the controversies surrounding the series. Gomez also has yet to release any statement over the hype surrounding the new show.

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