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‘13 Reasons Why’ May Increase Suicidal Thought For Teens

Dorathy Gass

We all love to binge Netflix no and again, but could one of the shows cause an increase in suicide or suicidal thoughts? New research has revealed that the popular Netflix show, ’13 Reasons Why’ could potentially be heightening thoughts of suicide for teenagers. A study team coming out of San Diego State University recently dived into the impact of the popular Netflix series, examining Google searches the days after the show was released.

It’s important to note, the researchers reviewed searches for the word ‘suicide’ not relating to that word together with ‘squad’ which would reference the flick, ‘Suicide Squad’. They also avoided terms included with the word, like ‘suicide bridge’ or ‘suicide slide’. As well, the team focused on analyzing suicided-related questions like ‘how to’ kill oneself or ‘how to’ commit suicide.

Medical News Today reveled that the team reviewed internet search volumes from March 31st of this year to April 18th. The team analyzed web search volumes after the program aired, versus what the volumes were at if the show was never released. These numbers were set on day-to-day trends spanning over three months, prior to the show’s release. As Benjamin Althouse, co-author of the study stated, this allowed the team to target the effect the show may have had on the public in terms of suicidal thoughts.

As a result, the study revealed that suicide-related internet searches after ’13 Reasons Why’ first aired had increased by 19%. Still the good news was the searches for strategies around suicide prevention was in part, the reason for the increase. Moreover ‘suicide hotline’ searches increased by 12%, and ‘suicide prevention’ increased by 23%. Still, ‘commit suicide’, ‘how to commit suicide’ and ‘how to kill yourself’ searches also increased significantly by 18%, 26%, and nine percent. In addition, there was 1,500,000 to 900,000 more searches around suicide-related queries from 19 days after the Netflix show aired.

The study team could not conclude if the searches triggered attempts of suicide or not.

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