13 Reasons Why
[Photo by: Netflix]

Last month, in a study done by National Institutes of Health, researchers suggested that 13 Reasons Why was linked to a spike in teen suicide. Netflix released a statement in regards to the study stating they were “looking into the research,” which they say conflicts with another study from the University Of Pennsylvania in which suicide rates dropped.

Now, a second study conducted using the same suicide data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has come to a similar conclusion.

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The new study, published Wednesday in JAMA Psychiatry, found that in the 3 months after the show’s launch the youth suicide rate for ages 10-19 rose unexpectedly by 13 percent.

Looking back at historical trends dating back to 1999, 94 more American adolescents and teens died by suicide during the three-month period than expected.

Researches used the same methodology as those who conducted last month’s study but analyzed 10-19-year-olds, whereas last month’s looked at 10-17-year-olds.

This study also found an increase in suicide in both male and females where the previous study observed that increase in boys only.

“But both studies essentially have the same main finding—a clear increase of suicides among adolescents after the release of the series [at the] end of March 2017,” Thomas Niederkrotenthaler, lead author of the JAMA Psychiatry study and an associate professor at the Medical University of Vienna, wrote in an email.

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“So, there is now evidence from two independent teams who found the same main result. We hope that both of these studies’ findings will now encourage collaborations between the entertainment industry and suicide prevention. We also hope that this will be a wake-up call to those who have not considered the relevance of these kinds of collaborations in the past.”

Nieerkrotenthaler and his fellow co-authors looked at potential exposure to the show when the first season debuted, between a time frame of April 1 to June 30, 2017.

The show was wildly popular on Twitter and Instagram, so they used social media data as a proxy for understanding peak interest in the show.

Researchers suggest that the portrayal of suicide in the show created a “contagion effect,” which can happen when media coverage of suicide leads to suicide clusters.

While researches could not determine whether those who committed suicide watched the series, an editorial written by researchers at Harvard and Stanford claim the study shows “strong evidence” that 13 Reasons Why led to the increase.

“One cannot draw definitive causal conclusions from such data,” the editorial’s author writes. “But that no similar increase was seen in suicide rates other than for the age group to which the media portrayal pertained provides some further compelling evidence that the excess suicides may indeed have been owing to the series.”

More on Netflix and 13 Reasons Why

13 Reasons Why was renewed for a third season in June 2018. Following the news, some backlash surfaced, and Netflix CEO Reed Hasting came to the show’s defense.

13 Reasons Why has been enormously popular and successful,” Hastings said during the Netflix annual shareholder meeting, reports Deadline. “It’s engaging content.”

“It is controversial,” the CEO continued. “But nobody has to watch it.”

13 Reasons Why Season 3 is set to premiere in 2019, and we already know some details about the upcoming episodes.

Katherine Langford, who plays Hannah Baker in the series, shared on Instagram she will not be joining the cast for season three.

“This show will always be a special part of my life, and regardless of whether Hannah is there or not, I know that I will continue to strive to do work that is meaningful and has a positive impact,” Langford wrote.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental illness, there is help to be found. Please consider these online resources and talk to your regular doctor about your symptoms:
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