'13 Reasons Why' may have negatively affected teen suicide rates, study finds

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A new study from the University Of Michigan has found that Netflix's 13 Reasons Why could be the reason for the increased risk of teen suicides.

The newest study was published by Psychiatric Services, and it’s objective was to see if exposure to the show and the “patterns of engagement” with it had any impact on the studied youth (found per Buzzfeed.)

The youth that the study focused on was 87 teenagers, all of whom were surveyed during treatment in a psychiatric emergency department.

Most of the participants in the study were female (with only 26 percent being male), and they were all asked to fill out a questionnaire during their visits to these emergency departments.

As the survery found, almost half (49 percent) of the teens surveyed had watched one, or more than one, episode of the first season of the show. It was also found that over half (84 percent) had watched the show alone.

Of those teens who watched the show alone, they shared that they were more likely to share their thoughts and reactions of the show with their peers (80 percent) than with their parents or legal gaurdians (34 percent.)

Additionally, over half (51 percent) of the partipants felt that the series increased their risk of suicide.

As the study continues, it was noted that the particpants felt a close identification with the female lead, Hannah Baker (who commits suicide during the show’s first season), which they believe caused the paricipants to feel that risk increased.

It was also revealed that teens who were dealing with more ” depressive symptoms and suicidal ideations” had a stronger connection and identification with Hannah. They also report feeling a negative reaction when watching the show.

The authors ended up saying that futher examination of the show and its effects is still neded, yet, the findings from the study suggest “a particular vulnerability to the show’s themes among youths at risk of suicide” and that there needs to be steps taken to improve these problems.

Buzzfeed then spoke to the lead author of this study, Dr Victor Hong, who explained that he decided to conduct the study after it was noticed that teens were mentioning the show as an influence.

“Some of them had even said that it was a real factor in why their suicidality or depression had worsened,” Hong told Buzzfeed News.

 

If you feel you need help dealing with depression or a difficult time in your life, call Lifeline on 0800 543 354 or the Suicide Crisis Helpline on 0508 828 865(0508 TAUTOKO). Both are available 24/7.