NIH: Netflix's '13 Reasons Why' associated with 28% increase in youth suicide rates

The March 2017 release of Netflix's "13 Reasons Why," a show that examines the story of a teenage girl who commits suicide, was associated with a 28 percent increase in suicide rates among U.S. residents ages 10 to 17 one month after its release, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

The study was conducted by researchers at numerous universities, hospitals and the National Institute of Mental Health, part of the National Institutes of Health. To better understand the impact the TV show had on suicide rates, the researchers analyzed data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which included data on deaths of individuals between the ages of 10 and 64 that occurred between Jan. 1, 2013 and Dec. 31, 2017.

Results of the study showed that suicide rates among individuals ages 10 to 17 were significantly higher in the months of April, June and December 2017 than what researchers expected based on past data. Between April 1, 2017, and December 31, 2017, there were 195 more suicide deaths expected among the age group.

Study authors concluded that the results of the study support the idea that youth may be particularly sensitive to suicide depiction in the media and popular entertainment, which has led to various groups', such as the World Health Organization's, creation of guidelines for discussing and portraying suicide on screen.

Study authors concluded that while their evidence suggests "13 Reasons Why," may have contributed to the increase in youth suicide rates following its release, their research has several limitations, including its quasi-experimental design, which prohibits the researchers from making a causal link between the release of the show and the changes in suicide rates.

The second season of "13 Reasons Why," was released in May 2018, and a third season is currently in production with an expected release date later this year.

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