Popular show about teen’s suicide prompts response from local school district

NEW YORK (AP) — Netflix has renewed the watercooler hit “13 Reasons Why” for a second season. The streaming service announced Sunday that it has picked up the series revolving around the suicide of a high school girl.

While Netflix doesn’t release ratings information, “13 Reasons Why” has proven a conversation-starting drama.

Some have criticized the show for glorifying suicide, which led to Netflix adding an additional warning ahead of the series.

In Chesterfield County, school officials sent a letter home to parents warning them about the popular show. Administrators are urging parents to watch it with their kids.

One parent told 8News his 11-year-old daughter is no longer allowed to watch the show.

“It gave off the impression that suicide was kind of OK, and a very loosey-goosey, comfortable feel towards suicide,” Dave Siljanoski said. “She just needed that education from us than a show.”

Another parent said she doesn’t find the show to be controversial.

“I think it’s a great show,” Nicole Smith said. “It brings up very hard topics that a lot of people feel very uncomfortable with.”

The Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide says possible warning signs can be organized around the word “FACTS.” The organization also references the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the JED Foundation as useful resources for suicide prevention tips.

  • FEELINGS that, again, seem different from the past, like hopelessness; fear of losing control; helplessness; worthlessness; feeling anxious, worried or angry often
  • ACTIONS that are different from the way your child acted in the past, especially things like talking about death or suicide, taking dangerous risks, withdrawing from activities or sports or using alcohol or drugs
  • CHANGES in personality, behavior, sleeping patterns, eating habits; loss of interest in friends or activities or sudden improvement after a period of being down or withdrawn
  • THREATS that convey a sense of hopelessness, worthlessness, or preoccupation with death (”Life doesn’t seem worth it sometimes”; “I wish I were dead”; “Heaven’s got to be better than this”); plans like giving away favorite things, studying ways to die, obtaining a weapon or stash of pills; suicide attempts like overdosing or cutting
  • SITUATIONS that can serve as “trigger points” for suicidal behaviors. These include things like loss or death; humiliations, rejections, or failures, getting in trouble at home, in school or with the law; a break-up; or impending changes for which your child feels scared or unprepared

The Selena Gomez-produced “13 Reasons Why” is based on Jay Asher’s young adult best-seller.

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