New research is adding fuel to the fire against the show 13 Reasons Why as it revealed that there is a spike in suicide rates following its release on Netflix in 2017.
The show 13 Reasons Why centers around a teenager who took her own life, leaving behind a box of recordings to explain her decision to commit suicide. Since its debut, it has been plagued with criticisms, with experts and school officials saying the show is glorifying suicide and desensitizing students to mental health issues.
Now, researchers show the numbers associating the Netflix series with adolescent suicide.
Study Links Show To Suicide
In a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, researchers showed how suicide rates among the young people ages 10 to 17 skyrocketed by 28.9 percent in the month of April 2017 right after the debut of 13 Reasons Why. These numbers are the highest recorded in any single month during the five-year period observed by the research team.
A closer look at the data shows that there was a particularly significant spike in the suicide rates among young males. The suicide rates among young females also increased, but the change ended up statistically insignificant.
"The results of this study should raise awareness that young people are particularly vulnerable to the media," explained study author Lisa Horowitz, a clinical scientist from the NIMH Intramural Research Program, in a news release from institute. "All disciplines, including the media, need to take good care to be constructive and thoughtful about topics that intersect with public health crises."
The study involved the researchers analyzing data on suicide cases of individuals ages 10 to 64 between Jan. 1, 2013 and Dec. 31, 2017. The month after the first season of 13 Reasons Why premiered featured the highest suicide rates among the youth. Furthermore, suicide rates also exceeded expectations for the rest of the year with an additional 195 suicide deaths than projected from previous years' data and trends.
It's important to note that there are limitations to the study, particularly the quasi-experimental design used. This means the researchers can't make a causal link between the show's release and the increase in suicide rates.
What Netflix Says
A spokesperson from Netflix reveals that the company is aware of the study and is currently reviewing it.
"It's a critically important topic, and we have worked hard to ensure that we handle this sensitive issue responsibly," said the spokesperson in a statement to Reuters.
Netflix has already officially renewed 13 Reasons Why for its third season.