Netflix’s controversial hit series “13 reasons why” which first aired on 31 March 2017, has been in the news since its release mainly because of its unique story line which is about a girl named ‘HANNAH BAKER’ who commits suicide.
US researchers have said that online searches regarding suicide and suicidal methods increased in the weeks following the release of the controversial Netflix drama “13 reasons why”. A new study published in the journal JAMA Internal medicine have discovered some disturbing trends in the internet searches following this show’s release. According to researchers, there were between 900,000 and 1.5 million more suicide-related searches overall in the 19 days after the show’s release. The study examined queries between 31 march, the day when the show was first premiered and April 18. April 18 was chosen as an end date to avoid any possible influence on data from the suicide of NFL player Aaron Hernandez which took place on April 19th. Using data from google trends, researchers found that there was a significant increase in searches related to suicide hotline and those related to suicide awareness in the days following the release date of this show. Searches for phrases like “suicide hotline” were up 12%, and “suicide prevention” rose by 23%. However there was a greater increase in the rate searches related to suicidal ideas and methods, queries for “how to commit suicide” were up by 26 percent; for “commit suicide,” by 18 percent; and for “how to kill yourself,” by 9 percent. These figures were shocking and alarming, questioning the mental health and stability of American teenagers.
John w. Ayers who is a research professor at San Diego State University Graduate School of Public Health and the lead author of this study writes that it’s unclear whether an increase in searches regarding suicide meant an increase in actual suicide attempts, although they note that there’s typically a correlation between the two, and that searches for precise suicide methods increased after the series’ release. He also said,
“While it’s heartening that the series’ release concurred with increased awareness of suicide and suicide prevention, like those searching for “suicide precaution”, our results back up the worst fears of the show’s critics. We are calling on Netflix to remove the show and edit its content to align with World Health Organization standards before reposting.”
He also suggested that suicide prevention hotline numbers should be added to older episodes and scenes to prevent any mishaps.
As a response to this study, Netflix commented,
“We always believed this show would increase discussion around this tough subject matter. This is an interesting quasi experimental study that confirms this. We are looking forward to more research and taking everything we learn to heart as we prepare for Season 2.”
Netflix’s answer to all these claims show that this series aimed to enable teenagers to be more open about their problems related to depression, bullying, and suicidal thoughts. Netflix has claimed to do more study regarding this topic and prevent committing similar mistakes in their upcoming season 2….