Teen Suicide Rates Increased After Netflix’s ’13 Reasons Why’ Was Released
Suicide rates spiked after the release of Netflix's 13 Reasons Why.
According to a new study, published on Monday (April 29) by the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, in the month following the show's debut in March 2017, there was a 28.9% increase in suicide among American boys between 10-17. They also found that 195 more teen suicides occurred from April to December 2017.
For those of you who didn't watch the show, it tells the story of a teenage girl named Hannah Baker who leaves behind a series of 13 tapes explaining why she decided to take her own life. In the final episode of the first season, viewers find out she dies after slitting her wrists in a bathtub.
"The creators of the series intentionally portrayed the suicide of the main character. It was a very graphic depiction of the suicide death," which can trigger suicidal behavior, said lead author Jeff Bridge, a suicide researcher at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
He acknowledged he cannot know for sure if 13 Reasons Why is the reason behind the increase because the results cannot determine whether anyone who took their own life had definitively watched the series. However, April 2017 had the highest suicide rate among that specific demographic in the past five years.
Netflix has responded to the new research, issuing a statement Tuesday (April 30) via CNN: "This is a critically important topic and we have worked hard to ensure that we handle this sensitive issue responsibly."
A second season of 13 Reasons Why was released in May 2018 on Netflix and a third season of the show is currently in production.