On Monday, researchers from the Nationwide Children's Hospital published a study in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, reports CNBC. In the study, they looked at the suicide rate among individuals aged 10 to 64 between Jan. 1, 2013 and Dec. 31, 2017. According to the study, April 2017 - the month after the first season was released - had the highest suicide rate among 10- to 17-year-olds, jumping 28.9 percent compared to the month before.
The researchers also found there are about 195 more youth suicides than predicted in the nine months after the series was released.
However, the study found no significant change in suicide rates for people 18 or older during the same period. There were 180,655 suicides in the U.S. during the period.
"Youth may be particularly susceptible to suicide contagion, which can be fostered by stories that sensationalize or promote simplistic explanations of suicidal behavior, glorify or romanticize the decedent, present suicide as a means of accomplishing a goal, or offer potential prescriptions of how-to die by suicide," Jeff Bridge, the director of the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research at Nationwide Children's and lead author of the study, said Monday.
"It is possible to portray suicide in a way that cultivates hope by increasing awareness of available support for those who struggle with suicidal thoughts or behaviors," John Ackerman, PhD, a co-author on the study and suicide prevention coordinator of the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research at Nationwide Children's, added in a statement. "However, this study demonstrates parents should be cautious about exposing youth to this series. With a third season of the series expected to air soon, continued surveillance is needed to monitor potential consequences on suicide rates in association with viewing the series."
While this particular study looked at the effects of the show a month after its first season release, a study published in Social Science and Medicine last week found that some adults aged 18 to 29 had a less chance of purposefully injuring themselves or considering suicide if they watched 13 Reasons Why all the way through its season two finale.
The study surveyed 729 adults in that demographic and found there was a greater risk of considering suicide if they stopped watching before getting to Season 2. Dan Romer, the study's co-author, told Philly.com he believed this was because viewers would miss the hopeful message of Season 2.
"That's a hopeful message," Romer said of the second season. "Even though you're plagued by thoughts of suicide and guilt, you can move past it."
13 Reasons Why is based on the book by Jay Asher and was controversial from the moment it was released. The first season deals with the impact of Hannah Baker's (Katherine Langford) suicide on her fellow high school students. In the second season, audiences saw how Clay (Dylan Minnette) and the other characters handled her suicide. However, Season 2 was just as controversial, as it showed Clay considering carrying out a school shooting and the graphic sexual assault of another student.
Netflix sought to counter the controversy by filming introductions with the show's cast. The streaming giant also created the website 13ReasonsWhy.info to provide resources for teens.
Netflix renewed the show for a third season last summer and plans to release the new episodes later this year.
If you or someone you know are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.
Photo credit: Netflix