School alerts parents of controversial show '13 Reasons Why' encouraging conversation

Posted at 6:08 PM, May 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-10 21:18:01-04

CARMEL VALLEY (KGTV) - Schools are urging parents to learn more about the hit Netflix show '13 Reasons Why' so they can have a conversation with their kids.

The first season of the show came out in March of 2017, and immediately after searches on Google relating to suicide skyrocketed.

Particularly, "how to commit suicide" up 26%, "suicide prevention" rose 23% and "suicide hotline number" was up 21% according to a research paper published in JAMA International Medicine and CNN.

At Carmel Valley Middle School, they faced that very serious issue personally. Three 7th graders, Madison, Lauren and Ximena saw their friend, who moved to LA, posting her pain on social media. She was cutting.

"She was posting a lot of videos on social media holding up an exact-o-knife and talking about all this," Madison said.

"I found out first and texted both of them and said we have to do something about it," Ximena said it was on her Snapchat story.

Madison said they were taught in P.E. that this kind of act is a plea for help. They went to their counselor, Karen Infantino who went the extra step, reaching out to a counselor at the friend's new school, ensuring she got the help she needed.

"And was able to reach out and make sure that she was in a good place but it’s also really important for me to make sure that any student that comes to me feels listened to and acknowledged," Infantino said.

The sentiment of being heard could've changed the entire plot of '13 Reasons Why.'

The main character of the dramatic series reveals the reasons she committed suicide. A topic school principal Cara Dolnik doesn't take lightly.

"Subjects of the show are sexual assault and there’s a part about rape and bullying and suicide, it’s very heavy so it’s really important that they do watch this if their kids are interested in it it actually is an avenue for them to have these conversations," she said.

The series rolls out May 18th, and Carmel Valley Middle proactively sent out a letter to educate parents.

"Parents should have conversations with their kids about everything and that’s not always easy so you have to find a way in to have that conversation," she said.

A conversation these three girls already had with their parents, "It’s just really scary because nothing like that has ever happened before," Lauren said.

All of them thankful and relieved they could help their friend, and hopeful to help others by sharing their message.

If you or someone you know has had suicidal thoughts, please contact the crisis line at 888-724-7240.