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Should Your Kids Watch '13 Reasons Why'?

By Howard Ludwig | May 5, 2017 6:09am | Updated on May 8, 2017 8:44am
 Actress Katherine Langford plays Hannah Baker in the Netflix miniseries
Actress Katherine Langford plays Hannah Baker in the Netflix miniseries "13 Reasons Why." The drama is told from beyond the grave as Baker describes why she killed herself.
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Internet Movie Database

MORGAN PARK — Mirjam Quinn of Beverly had heard enough from young girls and their parents about the Netflix miniseries "13 Reasons Why" that she decided to do something about it.

Quinn, a clinical psychologist, will host a group discussion for parents, grandparents, teachers and caregivers about the 13-episode drama from 7-9 p.m. Monday at the Beverly Area Planning Association.

"13 Reasons Why" focuses on a story of Hannah Baker, who explains from beyond the grave why she killed herself. The show deals with issues including sexual assault, cyber bullying, addiction and more.

The widely popular series has drawn criticism from parents, educators and psychologists — many claiming that the show glamorizes suicide and could lead impressionable viewers down a similar path.

"These are big and heavy scenes, and big and heavy scenes that are important to talk about," Quinn said.

She said many children and teens visited her office after binge-watching the series, which includes a graphic suicide. Likewise, parents also visited wondering how to address the issues within the show.

"We thought instead of having all these conversations one on one, it might be more efficient to get a community thing going," Quinn said.

Quinn's office, Mirjam Quinn and Associates, in suburban Oak Lawn specializes in children and adults coping with adjustment, anxiety, mood issues, grief and loss. Her specific focus comes in working with teenage girls and women.

One of her lasting impressions of the "13 Reasons Why" is that the female characters all either gain power through their sexuality or via suicide. And she believes addressing such issues as a parent is important.

"It is really reflective of our society," Quinn said. "What they are saying is they are depicting girls and women as being offered very little power."

It's free to attend Monday's event at the planning association office, 1987 W. 111th St., called "Talking To Your T(w)een About '13 Reasons Why.'" The discussion will be led by several licensed clinical psychologists and therapists from Quinn's office.

Margot Burke Holland, executive director of association, eagerly agreed to open her meeting room for the discussion. She's also the mother of a teenage daughter and knows the show is a frequent topic in lunchrooms, playgrounds and hallways.

"Our kids are dealing with things on levels that we didn't," Holland said. "In a way, maybe this is an opportunity to talk about suicide and what it means."