A new Netflix series many people have been binge-watching for days is cracking wide open the lives of adolescents and the tough issues they battle.
13 Reasons Why is about a teen girl who struggles with bullying, sexual assault, depression and suicide. Although the show is based off a book, the issues are very real.
"Students and teachers are under a lot of pressure and a lot of stress, and when we are talking about adolescence that can be very difficult for them,” said Leander Independent School District Chief of Communications Terry Abbott
Since the school year began, five students have committed suicide.
"And you can feel the pain and the heartache when we lose one," Abbott said.
He says it's the district's, as well as the community's responsibility to stay focused on the issue. And as a parent himself, Abbott says you are their first teacher.
"Probe until you find out what's really on their mind, sometimes in our busy world it can be easy to get too busy to pay close attention,” Abbott said.
In 13 Reasons Why, several characters face issues teens deal with on a daily basis. Merlie Keller from the Texas Suicide Prevention Council says suicide prevention is being discussed more now than ever before.
"It was kind of the other 'S' word that you didn't want to talk about 17 years ago," Keller said.
Keller says parents need to get involved. Their site offers special training videos, lists warning signs & appropriate referral strategies, resources she feels weren't shown enough in the show.
"I don't think it presents the most helpful message for suicide prevention. We're very concerned that messages go out that stress hope, that stress help, that let teens know suicide is one of the most preventable of tragedies,” Keller said.
Keller recommends to watch the show with your teen, help them build an outside positive connection like volunteering or church to let them know there is hope.
Go here for more information on suicide prevention.