Two Bay Area families have said the controversial show ’13 Reasons Why’ in part caused their daughters to commit suicide in April. 

The two 15-year-old girls, Bella Herndon and Priscilla Chiu, did not know one another, but each attempted suicide just four days apart. 

The one similarity they did have – both girls had just finished watching the Netflix drama, which was filmed in the Bay Area, and tells the story of a high school girl who decides to kill herself.   

Now, both of their families are speaking publicly for the first time about their daughters, to say the show was a trigger for the two girls in interviews with KTVU. 

Bella Herndon attempted suicide on April 18, and was finally taken off life support after a week and a half on April 28

Bella Herndon attempted suicide on April 18, and was finally taken off life support after a week and a half on April 28

Priscilla Chiu committed suicide on April 22

Priscilla Chiu committed suicide on April 22

Two 15-year-old girls, Bella Herndon (left) and Priscilla Chiu (right), took their lives just days after watching the drama, which is about a young girl in high school who decided to kill herself

Two Bay Area families have said the controversial show 13 Reasons Why in part caused their daughters to commit suicide in April

Two Bay Area families have said the controversial show 13 Reasons Why in part caused their daughters to commit suicide in April

Two Bay Area families have said the controversial show 13 Reasons Why in part caused their daughters to commit suicide in April

Bella Herndon was just three days from her 16th birthday when her parents found her body hanging lifelessly in her bedroom closet on April 18.

‘All I could see is that she was on her knees bent over, like she was digging in the closet. I thought she was joking around because there’s nothing really to find in her closet. 

‘So I laughed and said, “Hey Bella, what are you doing?” And then I got closer and she had hung herself. She was so blue,’ her mother, Donna, said through suppressed tears. 

Bella was a sophomore at Livermore Valley Charter Prep School and had straight A’s. 

Bella Herndon was just three days from her 16th birthday when her parents found herself hanging in her bedroom closet on April 18

Bella Herndon was just three days from her 16th birthday when her parents found herself hanging in her bedroom closet on April 18

Bella was a sophomore at Livermore Valley Charter Prep School and had straight A's

Bella was a sophomore at Livermore Valley Charter Prep School and had straight A's

Bella Herndon was just three days from her 16th birthday when her parents found herself hanging in her bedroom closet on April 18

'All I could see is that she was on her knees bent over, like she was digging in the closet... And then I got closer and she had hung herself. She was so blue,' her mother, Donna, said through suppressed tears

'All I could see is that she was on her knees bent over, like she was digging in the closet... And then I got closer and she had hung herself. She was so blue,' her mother, Donna, said through suppressed tears

‘All I could see is that she was on her knees bent over, like she was digging in the closet… And then I got closer and she had hung herself. She was so blue,’ her mother, Donna, said through suppressed tears

Her parents told KTVU English was her favorite class, and she planned to be a writer when she grew up. Bella’s dad described her as a ‘hero.’ 

After finding her body, her father John Herndown cut her down. She was on life support for about a week and a half before doctor’s told her parents there was no hope. 

Though they knew she was battling depression, and had been bullied since middle school, Bella’s parents said before her death she seemed happy and had new friends who were coming over regularly. 

In a final video of Bella, the teen hijacked her mother’s phone to record herself saying: ‘I love you mommy.’ 

After finding her body, her father John Herndown cut her down. She was on life support for about a week and a half before doctor's told her parents there was no hope

After finding her body, her father John Herndown cut her down. She was on life support for about a week and a half before doctor's told her parents there was no hope

After finding her body, her father John Herndown cut her down. She was on life support for about a week and a half before doctor’s told her parents there was no hope

On April 22, a second girl, Priscilla Chiu took her life in the same manner. 

Priscilla lived with her uncle Peter Chiu, who described his niece as precocious and determined. 

‘I just remember her brother running out and screaming, “Priscilla hung herself!”

‘We took her down, called 911, tried to do what we could… CPR, but it was pretty obvious. She was cold,’ Chiu told KTVU. 

On April 22, a second girl, Priscilla Chiu took her life in the same manner. Priscilla lived with her uncle Peter Chiu, who described his niece as precocious and determined

On April 22, a second girl, Priscilla Chiu took her life in the same manner. Priscilla lived with her uncle Peter Chiu, who described his niece as precocious and determined

Like Bella, Priscilla also battled depression, and looking back, her uncle said he missed the signs

Like Bella, Priscilla also battled depression, and looking back, her uncle said he missed the signs

On April 22, a second girl, Priscilla Chiu took her life in the same manner. Priscilla lived with her uncle Peter Chiu, who described his niece as precocious and determined

'I just remember her brother running out and screaming, "Priscilla hung herself! We took her down, called 911, tried to do what we could... CPR, but it was pretty obvious. She was cold,' Chiu told KTVU

'I just remember her brother running out and screaming, "Priscilla hung herself! We took her down, called 911, tried to do what we could... CPR, but it was pretty obvious. She was cold,' Chiu told KTVU

‘I just remember her brother running out and screaming, “Priscilla hung herself! We took her down, called 911, tried to do what we could… CPR, but it was pretty obvious. She was cold,’ Chiu told KTVU

Like Bella, Priscilla also battled with depression, and looking back, her uncle said he missed the signs.

He shared a final photo of his niece, posing in San Francisco’s Chinatown just days before she took her life.

‘I feel like the absolute worst adult because I kept forcing her to go to school,’ Peter told KTVU, explaining his niece’s new-found hatred of it.

Her  shared a final photo of his niece, posing in San Francisco's Chinatown just days before she took her life

Her  shared a final photo of his niece, posing in San Francisco's Chinatown just days before she took her life

Her  shared a final photo of his niece, posing in San Francisco’s Chinatown just days before she took her life

Just days after watching the new Netflix drama, which is based on a book about a high school-aged girl who commits suicide and leaves behind 13 cassettes for each of the people she says are the reasons she took her life, these two girls decided to do the same. 

Peter Chiu explained that the show is ‘very graphic,’ specifically citing the scene where the main character slits her wrists in the bath. 

John Herndon also expressed his hatred of the show, saying: ‘There are no words that describe my contempt for the people who did this. You can’t convince me that they were trying to attract attention to the issue of teen suicide by showing a little girl killing herself. There’s nothing positive about that.’ 

Netflix, aware of the controversy, said in a statement to KTVU: ‘Our hearts go out to these families during this difficult time. We have heard from many viewers that 13 Reasons Why has opened up a dialogue among parents, teens, schools and mental health advocates around the difficult topics depicted in the show.

‘We took extra precautions to alert viewers to the nature of the content and created a global website to help people find local mental health resources.’

The writer of the show, Brian Yorkey, though, adamantly defends the show. 

‘Many people are accusing the show of glamorizing suicide and I feel very strongly that we did the exact opposite. What we did was portray suicide and we portrayed it as very ugly and very damaging,’ he is quoted as saying. 

Netflix, aware of the controversy, said in a statement to KTVU: 'Our hearts go out to these families during this difficult time' 

Netflix, aware of the controversy, said in a statement to KTVU: 'Our hearts go out to these families during this difficult time' 

Netflix, aware of the controversy, said in a statement to KTVU: ‘Our hearts go out to these families during this difficult time’ 

The writer of the show, Brian Yorkey, though, adamantly defends the show

The writer of the show, Brian Yorkey, though, adamantly defends the show

The writer of the show, Brian Yorkey, though, adamantly defends the show

The show’s executive producer, Selena Gomez, has also said the idea was to get people talking about suicide.  

But Peter Chiu and Donna and John Herndon aren’t the only parents who have a problem with the show, which has been renewed for a second season. 

A Floridian mother, who does not want to be identified, blamed her son’s mental health issues on the TV show after his teacher told his class to check out the new show.

Additionally, the Australian mental health organization Headspace took aim at the show, saying it has received a ‘growing number of calls’ directly related to the program. 

Kristen Douglas, National Manager of Australian mental health organisation Headspace, said the show exposes viewers to ‘risky suicide content’ and young people could have a ‘distressing reaction’. 

For confidential support call the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255

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