Ever since it was released back in 2017, Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why has created loads of controversy. In the past few years, the Netflix show has been thought to increase suicide rates in teens, and now, it appears there could be some evidence behind this claim.
According to a study published on Monday in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry:
“The release of 13 Reasons Why was associated with a significant increase in monthly suicide rates among U.S. youth aged 10 to 17 years… Caution regarding the exposure of children and adolescents to the series is warranted.”
After taking a look at suicide rates of individuals from 10 to 64 between January 1, 2013, and December 31, 2017, researchers at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital found that those rates for teens, in particular, saw the greatest increase during April 2017, the month directly after 13 Reasons Why premiered on March 31.
During April, the monthly suicide rate for kids between 10 and 17 years old increased nearly 29 percent. In addtion, the number of teen suicides throughout the following nine months was around 195 deaths above the expected amount.
“Youth may be particularly susceptible to suicide contagion, which can be fostered by stories that sensationalize or promote simplistic explanations of suicidal behavior, glorify or romanticize the decedent, present suicide as a means of accomplishing a goal, or offer potential prescriptions of how to die by suicide,” Jeff Bridges, lead author, and director of the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research at Nationwide, said to CNBC.
He also encouraged entertainment companies, like Netflix, to take a look at what they are producing and do better. Bridges said that they “should avoid graphic detail of the suicide – which the series did not – and adhere to best-practice guidelines to reduce risk of subsequent suicide.”
In a direct response to some of the previous complaints, Netflix has added a short clip to the beginning of each season of 13 Reasons Why in 2018 which issues a warning to viewers about the graphic and potentially triggering nature of the show.