Experts Claim 13 Reasons Why Sparked An Increase In Searches About Suicide
The numbers went up in the weeks following the series.
The argument whether 13 Reasons Why idealised or brought awareness to the topic of teen suicide has been swirling ever since the show first hit Netflix. At the time, suicide prevention experts were vocal about their concern that the show could have an adverse affect on vulnerable people, and it seems - in part - that they were right.
In a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers discovered that online queries pertaining to suicide were 19% higher than average in the nineteen days following the release of Hannah Baker's story. In real terms, that means that 900,000 to 1.5 million extra people decided to read up on the topic.
“Seventeen of the top 20 related queries were higher than expected, with most rising queries focused on suicidal ideation,” the study read. “For instance, ‘how to commit suicide’ (26%; 95% CI, 12%-42%), ‘commit suicide’ (18%; 95% CI, 11%-26%), and ‘how to kill yourself’ (9%; 95% CI, 4%-14%) were all significantly higher.”
It's also worth mentioning that internet searches for suicide prevention also experienced a big increase in this time-frame, indicating that the programme did fulfil it's aim in opening up a discussion that could prove helpful.
The study didn't offer up any evidence as to whether the interest in suicide-related topics translated into actual attempts, but it concluded that 13 Reasons Why both "increased suicide awareness while unintentionally increasing suicidal ideation.”
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