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Suicide Victim Makes Tapes Inspired By '13 Reasons Why'

| by Lauren Briggs

A 23-year-old Peruvian man plunged to his death, leaving videos addressed to those he knew, in a manner that some are saying was inspired by the popular Netflix series "13 Reasons Why."

Industrial engineer Franco Alonso Lazo Medrano reportedly yelled "I can't stand a heartbreak" before he jumped from the fourth floor of his apartment building, Peruvian media source Diario Clarin reported, according to Fox News. He survived the fall but died en route to the hospital.

Medrano left two notes that police found while investigating. One was a farewell letter to someone that Fox News reported was a woman named Claudia, though the New York Daily News stated that the person was named Claudio.

The other note reportedly contained instructions on how to distribute a number of tapes he recorded for people whom he said drove him to suicide, just as in the plot of "13 Reasons Why," which tells the story of a fictional teen named Hannah Baker who sends videos to people she blames for her suicide.

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Many, including a number of counselors and other experts, have criticized the show for the way that it handles sensitive subjects surrounding mental health and self-harm, with some saying that it glorifies suicide and could encourage those with suicidal ideation to follow through.

"Across the suicide-prevention communities and experts, there is concern in the way that the suicide is portrayed and the buildup to the suicide ... could trigger suicide contagion or copycat behavior," said Kathy Cowan, the spokeswoman for the National Association of School Psychologists, according to the Washington Post.

Cowan also said that the series, inspired by a popular book, encourages revenge fantasies and romanticizes suicide, in part by showing the act in graphic detail.

"It implies throughout the show that she actually gets revenge, [that] she has an impact on the people she leaves behind in a way that you can't really guarantee with suicide," Cowan explained, adding that the show "sends the message that school mental professionals are not a trusted source for help. And all kids need to know that adults are there to help them and they can be trusted."

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Following the outcry, Netflix has added additional warnings at the beginning of each episode, which it said was "an extra precaution," according to the New York Daily News.

"While many of our members find the show to be a valuable driver for starting an important conversation with their families, we have also heard concern from those who feel the series should carry additional advisories," Netflix said in a statement.

Singer and actress Selena Gomez, who co-produced the show, said that creators tried to stay "very true to the book," which she described as "a beautifully tragic, complicated yet suspenseful story."

"We wanted to do it justice and, yeah, [the backlash is] gonna come no matter what," Gomez said. "It's not an easy subject to talk about, but I'm very fortunate with how it's doing."

Sources: Fox News, New York Daily News, Washington Post / Photo credit: OER Africa/Flickr

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