'13 Reasons Why' season 2: Local psychologist weighs in - KPTV - FOX 12

'13 Reasons Why' season 2: Local psychologist weighs in

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

"13 Reasons Why,” the Netflix series about teen bullying and suicide, is back for a second season.

Though fictional, the show is an intense and realistic storyline with subjects that are often tough for adults to talk about, let alone kids.

The second season includes a school shooting, and that has many people concerned about how to talk to their kids about the show.

“It left me feeling pretty bad, to say the least,” said Taylor Harrison, lead volunteer for Oregon Youth Line, a youth crisis and support service.

After the Netflix original series “13 Reasons Why” debuted last year, it left some teens and their parents feeling the suicide storyline had gone too far.

It’s about a girl named Hannah, a teenager who commits suicide, who leaves a series of tapes that explain why she made the tragic choice.

“Those who might be in a more risky situation, or a frame of mind, it definitely could be a lot more intense for them,”  Harrison said.

Youth Line has a team of 85 volunteers who provide support for teens, by teens.

Harrison says it’s important to keep talking about tough subjects, especially now, as the second season of "13 Reasons Why" releases Friday. 

“Not shying away from the subject matter, because it’s scary or intense,” he said.

“One of the things I think this season we’ll have to deal with is—do they go too far when they start addressing, not only do we have suicides, but we have school shootings, and rape and sexual assault, and at some point you become a slasher movie and it becomes a parody,” Dr. Robin Henderson, chief executive of behavioral health for Providence Medical Group, said.

Henderson says, as a parent herself, giving children permission to watch or not watch the show is critical.

“Boycotting is much like saying, ‘You know, we’re gonna boycott social media,’ It’s not gonna happen," Henderson said. "If they want to watch it, they’re gonna find a way to watch it."

For Henderson, the show hits close to home. Her son’s close friend attempted suicide. She knows other parents and kids feel the same.

People who work at Youth Line say it’s important to recognize how the show makes a person feel after watching it. As for parents, knowing if their child is struggling already is important because seeing graphic scenes is likely to trigger them.

“The methods and graphically-imposed images that they showed of her suicide, that’s real-life relatable horror and that probably made a lot of people feel uncomfortable,” Henderson said.

Henderson says Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in Portland has seen more than 80 young people for suicidal thoughts this year. She says the numbers are rapidly increasing, as that’s 200 more young people than last year.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention provides a tip sheet on their website with discussion points for parents to talk with their teens about the show.

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