Parents urged to guide teens through popular TV drama '13 Reasons Why'

Controversial television series '13 Reasons Why' is sparking discussions about mental health among teens.

Family therapist Talya Ressel has encouraged parents to watch and discuss the TV drama with their kids, instead of forbidding teens from watching it.

Ressel says that it is better for adolescents to have parental guidance, rather than watch the show in secret.

Read: How parents can support teens facing depression, anxiety or suicidal thoughts

The series is based on a 2007 book by novelist Jay Asher, and it deals with the aftermath of a teen suicide.

High school student Hannah Baker takes her own life and leaves behind a set of audio tapes detailing the reasons why.

Also read: Teen suicide: Why preemptive conversations are important

In the first season, the show reveals the consequences of bullying, sexism, harassment and irresponsible social media use for the young teen characters.

The second season has just been released by Netflix and there have been calls for the show to be cancelled because it apparently evokes despondency.

Read more: Buying your teen a smartphone? Emma Sadleir's word of warning to parents

Ressel says that parents can use the characters to prompt questions and conversations with their children.

She critiques the messages portrayed in the show and shares her advice for parents.

Seeing what these children were watching really gave me concerns.

Talya Ressel, family therapist and clinical social worker

We need to help parents know what their kids are being exposed to so that they can engage on the topics with them.

Talya Ressel, family therapist and clinical social worker

We run a very dangerous course if we just take a hard and fast rule of 'don't watch this.'

Talya Ressel, family therapist and clinical social worker

It's graphic, it's sensational and it's trying to have the shock value.

Talya Ressel, family therapist and clinical social worker

Mental illness is treatable... The show doesn't show Hannah exploring those routes.

Talya Ressel, family therapist and clinical social worker

Suicide is permanent... The message of suicide is not as accurate as it should be.

Talya Ressel, family therapist and clinical social worker

Take a listen to the expert opinion:


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Parents urged to guide teens through popular TV drama '13 Reasons Why'


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