A TV series has become part of a discussion of suicide among young people after research released Monday revealed that suicides among young Americans surged following the show’s debut. Reuters reports that a U.S. study found suicides went up by almost a third in the month following the debut of “13 Reasons Why” in 2017.
A teenage girl kills herself in the Netflix drama series. But the researchers cited limitations in the study, noting that they’re unable to make a direct causal link between the series and the increase in the suicide rate.
The report also notes that a previous study found just the opposite — that watching the program was associated with a reduced risk of self-harm for some young adults.
“The rate of suicide in April 2017 was 28.9 percent higher among U.S. youth ages 10 to 17 than would be expected based on suicide counts and trends observed in previous years, the National Institutes of Health-supported (NIH) study said on Monday,” Reuters reports. “It found rates of suicide for 10- to 17-year-olds were also higher in the rest of the year, resulting in an additional estimated 195 suicide deaths from April to December 2017 versus expectations based on past data. The increase was driven primarily by young boys, they said.”
Reuters quotes a Netflix spokesman saying: “It’s a critically important topic, and we have worked hard to ensure that we handle this sensitive issue responsibly.”