Local parents invited to discuss ’13 Reasons Why’

(Photo Credit: Beth Dubber / Netflix via MGN)

LAFAYETTE, La. (The Daily Advertiser) – The popular Netflix show “13 Reasons Why” has prompted several Lafayette organizations to host a forum for parents on May 9.

Based on the 2007 book by Jay Asher, the show provides a vivid depiction of teen bullying and suicide.

Local counselor Roy Petitfils said he and other mental health professionals are worried that the show romanticizes suicide, especially for teens.

“It doesn’t really address mental health issues,” he said. “Our concern is that there are a number of teens who say they feel invisible, and they feel suicide would be a way for them to be seen and get back at people who might be bullying or mistreating them. That is the biggest concern.”

Last weekend, Petitfils posted a Facebook video outlining his concerns. Marie Collins, executive director of The Family Tree, saw it and felt the need to act.

“We are three weeks away from school being out and a lot fewer eyes on these kids,” Collins said. “At school, at least people see them every day. Now we have kids with more access to social media, the Internet, more ways to binge watch the 13 episodes with less supervision. If something does come up, they don’t have the resources to reach out to someone.”

The forum will begin at 11 a.m. Tuesday at The Bayou Church, 2234 Kaliste Saloom Road. Topics will include why “13 Reasons Why” appeals to teens and how adults can use the show to start dialogue with teens.

“We want to caution parents, especially of middle school students, about the content,” Petifils said. “For parents of high school students, we want to give them some tools to talk with teens about what comes up in the show.”

The forum’s partners include The Family Tree, The Compassionate Friends, Woman’s Foundation Inc., Hearts of Hope, Healing House and the Jacob Crouch Foundation.

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