"13 Reasons Why" raises concerns at schools

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"13 Reasons Why" raises concerns at schools. Ali Gorman reports during Action News at 5 p.m. on May 3, 2017. (WPVI)

One of Netflix's hottest shows is now causing concern for some local high school counselors.

The series "13 Reasons Why" centers around 17-year-old Hannah Baker who takes her own life, but leaves behind audio tapes for 13 people she says contributed to her death.

Officials say it could be dangerous for some students to watch, because it may glamorize teen suicide, which is already a big problem.

It's the second leading cause of death for people ages 15 to 34.

Due to that concern, especially for emotionally vulnerable students, some school districts, such as West Chester Area in Chester County and Wilson Area in Easton, Pa., have sent or posted letters for parents, with advice on how to help their children put the show in context.

A local expert says the series has both negative and positive messages.

Elizabeth Gosch, Ph.D., a child psychologist at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, says for kids already struggling with depression or other problems, there is worry it could start a phenomenon known as suicide contagion.

"It's a real phenomenon, particularly if they see teen suicide dramatized or, you will see an increase in the incidence of teens taking their own lives," says Dr. Gosch.

However, she says the series alone won't cause someone to take their own life.

And she praises a positive effect in "13 Reasons Why" - a message of anti-bullying.

She says if parents watch with their children, "It could be a way to open up conversations about suicide to keep kids safe, for if they have people reach out to them, and connect with them, help them work through these difficult times."

Producers of the show, including Selena Gomez, told ABC News that's the intent to help people.

And Netflix have given resources for suicide prevention.

But due to the backlash, those resources will now be more prominent, and Netflix also announced it would beef up its warnings.

Doctor Gosch tells parents: Don't be afraid to ask your kids about suicide, and keep asking, especially if you notice warning signs or changes in behavior.

Some resources: Netflix Crisis Information for Viewers.

National Suicide Prevention Line.

Advice for Parents from Natl. Association of School Psychologists
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