Youth suicides increased by nearly 30% after release of Netflix series ’13 Reasons Why,' study shows

Youth suicides increased by nearly 30% after release of Netflix series ’13 Reasons Why,' study shows

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - A new study supported by the National Institutes of Health shows that the release of the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why” may be associated to an increase in youth suicide rates.

According to the study published Monday, suicide rates among U.S. youths between the ages of 10 and 17 increased by 28.9% in April 2017, the same approximate time the popular show premiered.

The number of suicides in April 2017 was greater than any other month during the five-year period analyzed by researchers as part of the study.

“The results of this study should raise awareness that young people are particularly vulnerable to the media,” said study author Lisa Horowitz, Ph.D., M.P.H., a clinical scientist in the NIMH Intramural Research Program. “All disciplines, including the media, need to take good care to be constructive and thoughtful about topics that intersect with public health crises.”

Results from the study indicate that youth may be particularly sensitive and influenced by what is portrayed on social media and in popular entertainment.

A spokesperson provided a statement on behalf of Netflix following the release of the report:

"We’ve just seen this study and are looking into the research, which conflicts with last week’s study from the University of Pennsylvania. It’s a critically important topic and we have worked hard to ensure that we handle this sensitive issue responsibly.”

The streaming service’s series centers around a teenage girl who commits suicide and the 13 reasons why she decided to kill herself. A second season of “13 Reasons Why” was released in May 2018 and a third is currently in production.

If you or someone you know needs immediate help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “home” to 741 741.

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