'13 Reasons Why There is Hope': Netflix Show Sparks Suicide Discussion

A new Netflix series is sparking conversation among teens, parents and schools.

“13 Reasons Why” details what its main character, high schooler Hannah Baker, said lead to her suicide. She leaves behind 13 tapes to the people she said caused her to commit suicide and in the tapes, she explains how each person impacted her to take her own life.

The show’s creators do not shy away from graphically depicting disturbing and sensitive topics-- even showing how the character commits suicide.

The show has become a major topic of discussion on social media because of its raw and graphic depictions of suicide, bullying and rape. Since the show’s debut on March 31, “13 Reasons Why” has been tweeted about more than 11 million times, according to Variety.

Rich Hanley, an associate professor of journalism at Quinnipiac University, said the show has been successful because of the credibility of its sometimes controversial content.

“Netflix hit all the right notes in terms of its show content, show demographic, with the understanding that it would do extremely well on social media because that’s where the conversations take place,” said Hanley.

The show and its dramatic messages are even reaching teens all across the country and in Connecticut. Some high schools in Hartford have posted posters in schools that read, “13 Reasons Why There Is Hope,” which include messages of hope and a suicide prevention number.

Hartford Schools

New Britain High School student, Anna Stryjewska, said there are lessons to learn from the series for teens like her.

“I’ve started to watch what I do all the time and make sure my actions don’t negatively impact people,” Stryjewska said.

New Britain Consolidated School District Principal Mitch Page, who was a former social worker for 20 years, wants parents to know the show can be a conversation starter with their kids.

“As tough as that might be, or maybe awkward as that might be – watch the show with them absolutely and have those conversations with them ongoing,” said Page.

Page also suggests if your child is interested in watching the show, you could let them know in advance what the contest consists of.

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