If you’ve watched even one episode of the mega-hit Netflix series *13 Reasons Why, you know that it’s the kind of show that really sticks with you. When you take in a scene, you may even have to pause a second to reflect on what you have just watched – and it can make you think differently about the everyday interactions you share with the people in your life. It happens to the cast too.

In a new interview with Cosmopolitan, actor Ross Butler, who plays Zach Dempsey on the show, actually explained that he even had someone from his past reach out to him personally to say how the series affected him in real life.

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“One of my friends from high school reached out on Facebook. I hadn’t talked to him in a while, but we were both in robotics club back in high school. He was really cool, and I always saw him as this really cheery guy,” Ross shared. “He reached out and he said, ‘Yo, I just watched your show. I just wanted to say that, first of all, really proud. You started in robotics and now here you are.’ But he told me that he really related to the show because in high school he was depressed and had suicidal thoughts. I had no idea.”

“That really opened my eyes and made me empathize with him,” Ross added. “I always put this really happy front in high school. That made me feel really less alone myself and I know that it felt good for him to know that I felt the same way. That really hit me because that’s what we were trying to do — get people to talk about it, and let them know that they’re not alone. It might be the last person that you expect to be feeling those feelings.”

Ross also shared that he can relate to the characters in 13 Reasons Why himself – though it’s not Zach’s story that’s most like his own.

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“I connected a lot with Alex [played by Miles Heizer]. He’s another one of those sweet kids that was pulled into this social group and led astray. He dealt with a lot of loneliness and not being able to express himself. That’s who I connected with when I was in high school,” Ross shared. “I also related to Clay [Dylan Minette] a little bit. I relate a lot with the softer-spoken ones of the bunch.”

If you or a friend is looking for help, you can find immediate crisis information at the 13 Reasons Why information hub.

This post was originally published on our sister site, Twist magazine.

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