Ever since it debuted back in 2017, 13 Reasons Why has caused controversy. In the past, the Netflix show has been accused of increasing suicide rates for teens, and now, according to a new study, those fears may be valid.
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.”
Analyzing suicide rates of people 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 biggest increase during April 2017, the month after 13 Reasons Why premiered on March 31.
During April, the monthly suicide rate for adolescents between 10 and 17 years old spiked nearly 29 percent. Additionally, the number of teen suicides throughout the following nine months was about 195 deaths above expected numbers.
“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, told CNBC.
In the same statement, he urged entertainment companies, like Netflix, to 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 response to some of the criticism, Netflix has added a short video to the beginning of each season of 13 Reasons Why in 2018 which warns viewers about the graphic and potentially triggering nature of the show.
This story is developing.