A new study in a journal for JAMA Internal Medicine showed internet searches for suicide and suicide attempts spiked dramatically after Netflix’s March 2017 release of 13 Reasons Why, the controversial show that ultimately ends with the main character Hannah Baker dying of suicide.
Cumulatively, searches for suicide-related topics surged 19 percent in the 19 days after the show dropped. Specifically, “how to commit suicide” searches increased 26 percent, “commit suicide” increased 18 percent, and “how to kill yourself” increased nine percent.
Other terms that spiked were “suicide hotline number” (a 21 percent increase in searches) and “teen suicide” (a 34 percent spike).
The researchers wrote it was “unclear” if any of the searches actually led to suicide attempts, but that “suicide search trends are correlated with actual suicides, media coverage of suicides concur with increased suicide attempts, and searches for precise suicide methods increased after the series’ release.”
President of the Child Mind Institute Dr. Harold S. Koplewicz told NBC News the study led him to believe the ”cost-benefit ratio [for Netflix of the show] isn't worth it." He warned "Suicide in teenagers is contagious. Period.”
If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
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