Netflix series starts conversation about sensitive issues

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - The Netflix series "13 Reasons Why" is touching on many sensitive issues some teens face in high school. The series follows a young girl who takes her life and leaves tapes explains what led her to commit suicide. Throughout the series topics like bullying, sexual assault and teen suicide are discussed.

The show has started to spark conversations between teens and adults about these sensitive issues.

Roxanne Jones said her son Tyler Andrew Garcia faced similar issues to the series main character, Hannah Baker, and just like Hannah her son made the same decision to take his own life. Jones said Tyler needed someone there to help.

"It takes one nice word that would've changed that whole thing," Jones said.

Jones said the show was difficult to watch because many scenes reminded her of what her son faced. She encourages parents to watch the show with their children because the show's message is important. But Jones said parents should watch the show first to know what the show's message is.

Losing her son made Jones develop a new motto.

"Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can kill you," Jones said. "That will be my saying forever because they do. They can kill you,"

Jones created an organization to honor her son's memory and bring awareness to bullying and teen suicide. It's called T.A.G. You're It. She said they're going to put six billboards in Texoma to spread their message.

Rider High School counselor Wendy Risner L.P.C. said school counselors have taken webinars to talk about the show and similar problems students face. It's called Responding to 13 Reasons Why: An Interactive Q & A Discussion.

"They want to talk about encouraging adolescents to reach out to talk to people if they need help," Risner said. "A lot of times they tell their friends they're feeling suicidal so it's really important for the friend to tell someone and explain what's happening to someone they trust."

Risner said teen suicide can be prevented by action.

"The question 'are you thinking about killing yourself? are you thinking about are you wanting to die?'" Risner said. "Those people who are thinking that need to be asked that directly."

Rider High faced a similar situation as the fictional school in the show. One of their students committed suicide in 2014. Risner said other students had similar thoughts soon after but with help, they were able to overcome their problems.

Parents and teens can download an app to help through their problems to stop teen suicide.

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