Popular Netflix TV series ’13 Reasons Why’ creating controversy about teenage suicide

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — A new Netflix series is causing quite the controversy these days. The show, "13 Reasons Why" is intended for a young adult audience, but comes with a mature audience rating.

Parents and professionals are saying the show sensationalizes suicide and should be pulled off the air.

The series, which is a based on a book, is about a teen girl who commits suicide and leaves behind a box of cassette tapes explaining the 13 reasons why she did it.

Parents are saying the book doesn’t sensationalize suicide as much as the TV series does.

The series was available to stream on March 31. Since then, it’s created quite a buzz on social media. Some professionals are calling it a conversation started on an already existing problem, while other psychiatrists are saying it does more harm than good.

A high school in Grand Junction, Colorado recently yanked the book from its library after suicide became a big problem in the area. Seven students in the community recently killed themselves, so a school district official ordered all librarians in the district to temporarily stop circulating it.

In northern California, the San Mateo-Foster City School District sent a letter to parents informing them of the show and encouraging them to keep it away from their kids.

The show’s producer, actress and singer/songwriter Selena Gomez, said that kids have to see something that scares them in order for the message to stick. She also said that she can relate to the tough times some kids may be going through so she wanted to be a part of a series that addresses them all.

"I just believed in what it was. When I read the book, I thought that it was something I could relate to … I see it constantly in kids who are authentic, telling me what they feel and go through," Gomez said.

There’s a 29-minute video that runs at the end of the 13th episode where Selena Gomez discusses suicide prevention. The show has set up a website for anyone who may need help. 

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