School, mental health counselors hosting forum in Nacogdoches to - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

School, mental health counselors hosting forum in Nacogdoches to discuss '13 Reasons Why'

A forum on discussion and questions surrounding the Netflix production of ’13 Reasons Why’ is planned for Tuesday evening. (Source: KTRE Staff) A forum on discussion and questions surrounding the Netflix production of ’13 Reasons Why’ is planned for Tuesday evening. (Source: KTRE Staff)
’13 Reasons Why’ was watched by teens on their cell phones during lunch hours. (Source: KTRE Staff) ’13 Reasons Why’ was watched by teens on their cell phones during lunch hours. (Source: KTRE Staff)
School counselor Emily Taravella (left) and licensed professional counselor Dr. Le’Ann Solmonson (right) discuss what they and four other counselors will address with parents and teens. (Source: KTRE Staff) School counselor Emily Taravella (left) and licensed professional counselor Dr. Le’Ann Solmonson (right) discuss what they and four other counselors will address with parents and teens. (Source: KTRE Staff)
NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) -

On Tuesday night, school and mental health counselors are bringing a forum to teenagers and their parents about the controversial Netflix series, “13 Reasons Why.”

The show's theme, which is based on the 2007 Jay Asher novel, revolves around teen suicide, with episodes showing bullying, rape, and the main character taking her life.

East Texas News met with two of six counselors and a high school student about why they want to promote healthy discussion about the show.

High school freshman Meagan Coffee brought up Netflix on her cell phone. During school lunch breaks, teens were glued to the tiny screens watching “13 Reasons Why.”

"It's definitely kind of one of the most popular shows that's really been talked about here,” said Meagan Coffee, a 9th grader.

The topic is suicide. The story provokes discussion, but high school counselor Emily Taravella knows the show's graphic dark side can be disturbing to some teen viewers.

"There's a lot of things about the show that they found disturbing,” Taravella said. “The amount of bullying that went on where no one intervened and stood up for her, and no one went to an adult at any point."

The show is criticized for glamorizing suicide. School and mental health counselors from both Nacogdoches and Lufkin expressed how the show is affecting the delicate mental state of the ones they counsel. 

The counselors chose to be pro-active. They're offering a forum on how to have critical discussions on difficult teen topics.
 
Counselor Dr. Le'Ann Solmonson said opening up that line of communication can be the most redeeming quality of “13 Reasons Why.” 

"Number one I think it's a great show for adults to watch to truly understand adolescent culture and to look at what's going on in this high school, in their social lives of these adolescents,” Solmonson said. “It's very accurate."

Counselors will encourage, but not require, participants to interact with one another.

"We're going to have the adults and teens together, and then we're going to split them off and do some things separately with them, and then we'll bring them back together,” Solmonson said. “The whole goal is to educate both groups and start opening up some lines of communication."

Coffee said she wouldn't want to watch “13 Reasons Why” with her parents due to its explicit nature, but she's looking forward to attending the forum. 

"I am. I am very interested,” Coffee said. “I would like to participate in conversation about it, so I can be apart and understand more about it."

“[Thirteen] Reasons Why” may have its negative effects, but concerned counselors will have met their calling if they can prevent a teen suicide or discourage remaining silent when there's a crucial reason to obtain help. 

The forum, “13 Reasons Why ... A Critical Conversation for Parents and Teens,” will be Tuesday at 6 p.m. at First United Methodist Church in Nacogdoches.  

Other cities have also expressed interest in hosting future forums. 

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