Netflix series about suicide sparks controversy, expert weighs i - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Netflix series about suicide sparks controversy, expert weighs in

If you, or someone you know needs help, the national Suicide Prevention Line is 1-800-273-TALK (8255). If they're in immediate danger, always call 911. (Image Source: WLOX News) If you, or someone you know needs help, the national Suicide Prevention Line is 1-800-273-TALK (8255). If they're in immediate danger, always call 911. (Image Source: WLOX News)
The Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why, is causing controversy. Some say the show glorifies suicide while others feel it opens the door for very real conversations. (Image Source: Youtube) The Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why, is causing controversy. Some say the show glorifies suicide while others feel it opens the door for very real conversations. (Image Source: Youtube)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

Mental health issues affect all teens - even ones in South Mississippi.

In April alone, the Harrison County Coroner has confirmed two suicides involving teenagers. The Jackson County coroner's office also confirmed two teen suicides in recent months. 

In a Google Search of the Netflix Original Series '13 Reasons Why', top stories show that experts are concerned about the show. 

"The first camp says anything that can put it on the radar and open up a discussion is beneficial. The other side of the equation is that at times some feel that it glorifies teen suicide and may encourage copycat behavior," said Christopher Ras, Program Manager at Merit Health Gulf Oaks. 

Though Ras hasn't watched the series, he says research proves exposing suicide in such a manner can give adolescents the wrong idea.

"Youth or teens in general can be very impressionable. It's a very difficult time in your life, and there's a lot of peer pressure, questions about sexual orientation, grades, and all the other things that concern them," said Ras.

The National Institute for Mental Health recently released a list of talking points for parents to address the content in '13 Reasons Why'. 

"The children need to be aware, at least from the parent's presentation, that it needs to be an open dialogue and there's no fear of any repercussion nor shame or embarrassment," said Ras. "That people being honest and forthright is the best way to have this kind of conversation."

The NIHM notes that having open and honest conversations about emotional distress and suicide is ok.

"I think that when parents suspect that something is happening in their children's lives, I think they need to find the courage or strength to have a conversation with the children and, if necessary, take steps," said Ras.

If you, or someone you know needs help, the National Suicide Prevention Line is 1-800-273-TALK (8255). If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, always call 911.

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