WATCH: The Sooke School District is warning parents about a popular TV show centered on teen suicide. Isabelle Raghem reports.
The popular Netflix series ’13 Reasons Why’ has prompted a number of school boards across the country to issue warnings, including on Vancouver Island.
The Sooke School District issued an alert Thursday, bringing attention to the show trending with teens.
The show tells the story of high school student Hannah Baker who dies by suicide and who left cassette tapes behind for classmates and peers to hear.
“It’s like everyone’s watching it, it’s trending on the internet and everything,” says Kiana Pound, Grade 12 Student at Belmont High School in Langford.
But while it is popular with teens, not everyone is a fan of the series.
School officials and parents have expressed concerns over the depiction of suicide and the graphic images.
“I know the themes that it has and as someone who’s been close to people who’ve struggle with that before, and I myself have struggles with it before, I feel it’s best to stay away from those,” says Pound.
“Students who watch this alone, that are potentially at risk, or have suicidal idealization, could get some thoughts where we wouldn’t have any opportunity to help the,” says Jim Cambridge, the Superintendent of Sooke Schools.
Mental health experts hope it encourages parents to discuss the topic with their kids.
” You might want to get involved here, and say how you feeling? How are you friends? This is really a drama series, it’s intended to be dramatic, it’s also intended to highlight these issues for these young people, and are they issues for you? Are they issues in your school?,” says Dr. Bonnie Leadbeater, with UVic Psychology Department.
The board also attached links to support resources in the letter, including a link to Vancouver Island Crisis Line, so parents and students know where to get help.