Crisis call center in Tampa ready to help with return of controversial Netflix show '13 Reasons Why'

"13 Reasons Why" sheds light on teen troubles

TAMPA, Fla. — Parents should monitor their kids extra closely this weekend as new episodes of a controversial Netflix show are released.

Health care say the show called "13 Reasons Why" shines a light on troubles some teens are having right here in the Tampa Bay Area.

"Last time we saw our suicide call rate go from 10 calls a day to nearly 28 calls a day. And a lot more young people we had calling us," says Clara Reynolds, CEO of the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, talking about the impact the first season of the show had on teens.

"We had peers who would call '211' and say, hey, I've got a friend who is contemplating suicide. I don't know how to help her. What do I do," explains Reynolds to ABC Action News. She says their call-takers helped local teens by giving them useful talking points, even role-playing so classmates would feel more comfortable talking to peers.

Reynolds says parents need to be talking about suicide with their teen kids, even if you don't think they're watching the show, which is about a teen girl who takes her own life.

"I asked [my son] Corey, have you ever heard of this?" recalls Reynolds. "He goes, 'mom I've already watched it. He watched it on his cell phone during hour long bus rides."

This week an Okeechobee, Florida mom is warning other parents that she didn't see any warning signs ahead of her own daughter's suicide attempt. 

"Maybe some kids have signs, but not my child," says Katrina, whose last name we are not publishing to protect her daughter's privacy and identity.

But Katrina wants to encourage kids not to be bystanders, after learning her daughter had agreed to a "suicide pact" with classmates.

"I'm mad because it was a pact between five kids," says Katrina to the ABC Action News sister station WPTV in West Palm Beach. "Any of the other four could have stood up and said something," she added.

After backlash following the first season of the show, one of Netflix’s stated goals for the second season is to communicate to youth the idea that actions have consequences, and "sharing how individual actions can have a positive impact in the life of someone in crisis."

On the Netflix page for the show, Netflix warns, "This series contains scenes that viewers may find disturbing, including graphic depictions of sexual assault, substance abuse, and suicide. If you or anyone you know needs help finding support or crisis resources, please go to 13ReasonsWhy.info for more information."

Netflix adds that you can take actions to help others by visiting bethe1to.com for 5 steps you can take to support your friends or family members.

You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline directly by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or visiting suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) tells ABC Action News that they too developed and compiled various resources to help school counselors, other educators and parents prepare and support students, which you can access on ASCA’s 13 Reasons Why resource webpage: www.schoolcounselor.org/13Reasons.

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