The Netflix Effect: Teen suicides increased 29% after release of teen-suicide show ’13 Reasons Why’

If you need another reason to dump Netflix, here’s the latest.

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people between the ages of 10 and 24, according to the CDC. Studies show that publicized suicides do trigger a ripple effect of additional suicides within communities.

13 Reasons Why” is a Netflix TV series, executive-produced by Selena Gomez, based on a novel by Jay Asher, 43, a writer of contemporary novels for teens, about 17 year-old Hannah Baker, who killed herself. Before she committed suicide, she made 13 cassette tapes, addressed to 13 persons at her school, detailing how and why they contributed to her desire to take her own life. The TV show also graphically depicts Baker’s suicide in a scene in which she slits her wrists and lets her blood spill into her bathtub at home.

Note: In 2017, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) expelled Asher for sexual harassment. SCBWI executive director Lin Oliver wrote in an email to The Guardian:

Both Jay Asher and [prize-winning illustrator ] David Diaz were found to have violated the SCBWI code of conduct in regard to harassment. Claims against them were investigated and, as a result, they are no longer members and neither will be appearing at any SCBWI events in the future. Both have been expelled from the SCBWI and are not welcome as members, faculty or speakers.

Before and after Netflix aired the first season of “13 Reasons Why” on March 31, 2017, and a second season on May 18, 2018, warnings and alarms were raised about the show:

  • Several mental health groups, including the Royal College of Psychiatrists, had condemned the show as romanticizing suicide.
  • The UK’s National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children reported that young people had cited the show as a trigger for suicidal thoughts.
  • In April 2017, a Florida schools superintendent warned parents that the show was inspiring an increase in self-harming and suicidal threats among elementary and middle school students.
  • A survey published in November 2018 found that of 87 suicidal teenagers aged 13 to 17 who were taken to the emergency department, 43 of them said that they had watched at least one episode of “13 Reasons Why”. Of those who had seen the show, 21 reported that they believe it had increased their risk for suicide.
  • In May 2019, Don Mordecai, Kaiser Permanente’s national leader for mental health, told Business Insider: “There was a kind of romanticization, and at the core of the story was this idea that you can kill yourself and be dead and yet not really be dead. Because, of course, (Baker) continues to be a character – she’s in scenes, and she’s still there in many ways.”

Now, a study has confirmed that the Netflix show indeed triggers teen suicides.

The Catholic News Agency reports, June 7, 2019, that a new study, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, found a 28.9% increase in suicide rates in U.S. boys ages 10-17 in the month (April 2017) following the debut of “13 Reasons Why”. Increases in suicide rates among youth were also found in the month leading up to the show’s release, and through December 2017, nine months after its release.

The study was conducted by multiple researchers from several different universities, hospitals, and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), which funded the study. For the study, researchers analyzed death rates due to suicide based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s web-based Wide-ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research.

The study found that the increase in suicides was statistically significant among young males; the increase in suicides among young females in association with the show was not statistically significant. Researchers found the increase in suicide rates even after adjusting for otherwise expected suicide rates during that time period, based on ongoing suicide trends. They also found that suicide rates did not increase during the studied time period for people ages 18-64.

In a press release on the study, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) said:

The number of deaths by suicide recorded in April 2017 was greater than the number seen in any single month during the five-year period examined by the researchers. The findings highlight the necessity of using best practices when portraying suicide in popular entertainment and in the media.

One of the study’s authors, NIMH clinical scientist Lisa Horowitz, Ph.D., M.P.H., said: “The results of this study should raise awareness that young people are particularly vulnerable to the media. All disciplines, including the media, need to take good care to be constructive and thoughtful about topics that intersect with public health crises.”

In the press release for the NIMH study, the authors concluded that the findings “should serve as a reminder to be mindful of the possible unintended impacts of the portrayal of suicide, and as a call to the entertainment industry and the media to use best practices when engaging with this topic.”

Despite all the warnings and scientific data about “13 Reasons Why,” in June 2018, Netflix still saw fit to order a third season, which will be aired sometime this year. 

See also:

~Eowyn

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cogitoergosumantraCalGirlapstempD3F1ANTJude Recent comment authors
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William
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William

This is deliberate. The Master demands souls. So much of popular culture now glorifies death, dying, suicide, the occult. It is presented as “no big deal” and kids do not appreciate the sanctity of life or the finality of death. I commented before about a friend whose 20 YO daughter took her life by hanging for no apparent reason. Based on the notes she left it was clear that she didn’t understand the serious implications of what she was doing. No pain and anguish, just love notes with little hearts. They gave me a sense of complete unreality. As for… Read more »

Alma
Member
Alma

Parents should pay close attention to their children, specially teen’s behavior, their friends and changes. Yes, kids like to experiment, if there is lack of parenting the next chapter written will be the end. I too had a friend whose young man committed suicide, he needed help but I believe he was lost in his own disappointments. We lost a brilliant young man.

briteness
Guest
briteness

Of course popular culture impacts this kind of thing. In Goethe’s novel The Sorrows of Young Werther, published in 1774, the protagonist kills himself. The novel was wildly popular in Germany, and led to a dramatic increase in young people killing themselves.

Auntie Lulu
Guest
Auntie Lulu

If gun manufacturers can be sued because someone was killed by someone else who used a gun . . . why not a class action suit brought by parent(s) of children who were persuaded to end their lives. It is best to cripple Netflix in any manner possible.

DCG
Editor

Gomez and Netflix must be so proud…

Hoop
Guest
Hoop

This is exactly why newspapers
DO NOT USE THE TERM SUICIDE when reporting a person who died of this… they normally use “died unexpectedly” or just ‘passed’. Plus it harms the community in general.

They know that mentally hurt pre-suicidals will take a step forward if their thinking is re-enforced.

Netflix is killing teens.

Judy JJ Smith
Guest
Judy JJ Smith

I watched the movie and was moved…but not to the suicide of myself.
These children are already insecure or have mental issues already.
If this movie prompted these teens to suicide, then they weren’t mature enough to watch–the theme slaps you in the face…seek help, watch your words, help others.

Lophatt
Member
Lophatt

Just as “Facebook” and “Twitter” are being shown to be simply arms of suppression run by The Odor, “Netflix” is the movie version. I would tie this to other efforts afoot to teach ten-year-olds how to apply condoms and perform anal sex in schools in California, for example. It all is designed to attack any semblance of Western Culture and replace it with a Satanic death cult. It really couldn’t be more obvious. It is obvious in individual efforts but inescapable when looked at as a whole. Couple this with the “euthanazia/abortion” insanity we’re seeing. Infants are now “parasites”. Mothers… Read more »

chemtrailssuck
Guest

Asher sounds like a demonic freemason, sort of a la Stephen “sold my soul” King, 13 as we all know is a big freemason number. He probably wrote his crappy book just to get kids to kill themselves. What a bastard!
I told some people I know about Net “like the spider web?) Flix, and they still watch it, even after I told ’em about the sick religious blasphemy. People are really suffering from cognitive dissonance these days.

Jude
Guest
Jude

I don’t have Netflix. I won’t ever get Netflix!!!

They do not care about people.

D3F1ANT
Guest
D3F1ANT

I’m Conservative…and not a huge fan of Netflix. HOWEVER…a TV show can’t make someone commit suicide. That’s an issue of personal (or…to a limited point, parental) responsibility. I don’t watch 13 Reasons (or shows like it) but censorship certainly isn’t the answer.

Auntie Lulu
Guest
Auntie Lulu

I am off the mark here: I have noticed that Steven from New York has not posted, or at least I have not seen any postings from him for several days. Does anyone know is he is alright?

CalGirl
Guest
CalGirl

As a public school teacher, my 2-cents: Mom and Dad, of whatever “configuration” you are as parents these days—–UNLESS and UNTIL you have subjugated your carnal & social desires to focus on raising your offspring, each and every one of them will be open to the influence of the larger “social media” and thus, “whatever” rears its ugly head to speak to your child…..including, demonic, end of days messages, depressive overlays, thrill-seekers, drug-aficionados, blah blah……I can’t save them, only YOU can.

cogitoergosumantra
Guest
cogitoergosumantra

The idiot writing/publishing the book, and worse, NutFlix for romanticizing it with their series, do more harm and are more disgusting than had someone done the same for a book/series entitled, “Why I became a teen prostitute”, as that one would be less likely to cause teens to kill themselves. And yet, how vile would such a book/series seem to most decent folks? So what would possess them to do such damage to our kids, but for the desire to test the limits of whatever censorism exists for cable and online smut peddlers, or merely to make money by exploiting… Read more »