Therapist discusses impact controversial Netflix show has on teens

"13 Reasons Why" has returned for a second season.

Hadas Kuznits
June 02, 2018 - 9:45 pm
13 Reasons Why

(Photo by Art Garcia/Sipa USA)


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- The controversial Netflix drama "13 Reasons Why," a show about teen suicide, has returned for a second season. So what are the psychological implications of kids being exposed to such a show? 

Therapist Shadeen Francis with Council for Relationships says part of the controversy about the first season of the show "13 Reasons Why" has to do with the fact that kids tend to do a lot of modeling.

"And so students who weren't previously suicidal likely are not at risk," Francis said, "but the overall concern is that for folks who had feelings that are mirrored by the show, they will also start to learn strategies that may not be helpful."

Now with the second season available for viewing on Netflix, some concerns have been addressed with trigger warnings, but in general, Francis says this show could actually have a positive impact.

"Because there was so much social commentary, people are talking more about suicide and suicide assessment, which is important," she said. "It means that we don't necessarily have to start these conversations cold turkey. I think a lot of parents have ambivalence about just bringing things up out of nowhere."

And Francis says that's good for children.

"It means that we're paying attention in a different way," she said. "We're actually having meaningful conversations."

Francis reminds people though that if you are having suicidal thoughts yourself, help is available.

"There are folks that have specialties around things like depression and suicide," she said. "Also, if we're talking about kids, we can talk to school counselors."