Should parents be worried about '13 Reasons Why'? - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Should parents be worried about '13 Reasons Why'?

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) — "13 Reasons Why" is a popular Netflix series attracting plenty of young viewers. It tackles issues like bullying, sexual assault and suicide. 

The show, however, has also drawn its share of critics. 

"Anything  that brings awareness to our society is a good thing, but it has to be done the right way," said  UCSD Medical School Psychiatry Professor Dr. Michael Lardon. 

The main character, named Hannah, leaves behind 13 cassette tapes for her classmates explaining why she took her own life. 

"Nobody makes somebody commit suicide," said Dr. Lardon. "In life, we have good interactions, we have bad interactions – it's the whole gambit. So the causality isn't from someone else." 

He applauds the show though, for at least sparking a national conversation  

"Approximately 50 million people, at some time in their life, suffer from anxiety or mood disorders," Dr. Lardon said. "The vast majority don't get treated - don't even recognize it. So to bring awareness to mental health issues is critical to our society."  

But he, and other mental health experts, say some of the very graphic scenes could trigger PTSD in victims of sexual assault. 

He adds the episode that actually shows Hannah committing suicide may be too traumatic. 

"Imagine you're on the freeway you see a horrific accident – that's going to traumatize you," said Dr. Lardon. "You're talking about that level of trauma - you're seeing it intimately on your TV at home." 

And for anyone struggling with depression, Dr. Lardon encourages them to get help.  

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the second leading cause of death among those ages 15 to 34. 

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