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New Netflix series sparks controversy

Image License: MGN Photo: Netflix

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Art: Some believe the series glamorizes suicide other are happy the issue is being discussed.
Awareness: What viewers do after watching the series is important, local expert says.

Netflix's newest series, "13 Reasons Why" is getting a lot of feedback, both positive and negative.

Some say the series is doing more harm than good, claiming it glamorizes, even romanticizes suicide. Others, are just happy the series is shedding light on an often overlooked issue.

The series, based on the best-selling novel by Jay Asher, tells the story of high school student Hannah Baker, who commits suicide but leaves behind 13 tapes revealing her reasons for doing so.

Whether you love the premise or hate it, Roger McBride, president of the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) in Pensacola said there's a bigger issue at hand.

"It doesn't bring to the forefront mental illness, which is a big cause of suicide," said Roger. "Ninety percent of people who commit suicide have an underlying mental illness. I don't think we should be entertained by suicide; I think we should be educated on what leads to it."

Roger said glorifying the issue of suicide is one of the worst outcomes viewers could take away, but adds some good can come from the show - it just depends on what the viewer does after watching.

"The fact that the show has sparked conversations on the internet and social media communication, it's definitely a good thing," said Roger. "Anything that raises awareness is going to be good. What we do with that awareness is the issue. We need to take that awareness and mold that into how do we prevent suicide and how do we help people with mental illness."

If you think someone is suffering from mental illness or may be contemplating suicide, Roger said look out for red flags. Persistent helplessness, hopelessness and sadness are indicators that something is wrong - all common themes seen throughout the show.

For around the clock advice or help, contact National Suicide Prevention services by calling 1-800-273-8255 or text 'connect' to 741-741.

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