Warning: This article discusses youth suicide and features content that may disturb.
The release of infamous teen suicide show 13 Reasons Why sparked outrage and concern, with critics, parents and mental health professionals labelling its depiction of suicide problematic.
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The Netflix series, which debuted in 2017, was blamed for inspiring a raft of youth suicides due to a glamorous depiction of the central character's decision to take her own life.
Now, a new study out of the US claims there was a significant increase in suicide rates in the months following the show's premiere.
Published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the study found that there were a total of 195 more suicides than expected in the nine months after the show began.
During the month of April 2017, the series' March 31st release date, the suicide rate for boys aged 10 -17 was higher than any other April of the previous nine years.
The study does not claim that 13 Reasons Why directly caused any of the youth suicides in question, but it does conclude that it correlates to a marked spike in young people taking their own lives at that time.
The show, produced by pop star Selena Gomez, had a wildly popular first season, with the second garnering distinctly negative reviews.
The controversial content has been both labeled as is criticised as exploitative of the very serious issues it deals with and praised for being a "suicide prevention tool".
Study co-author Lisa Horowitz said in a statement that the results 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."
With a third season slated to begin later this year, Netflix sought to assure fans they were taking steps to avoid any negative consequences from the show.
"This is a critically important topic and we have worked hard to ensure that we handle this sensitive issue responsibly," they said in a statement.
Where to find help and support:
Need to Talk? - Call or text 1737
Lifeline - 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland
Samaritans - 0800 726 666
Depression Helpline - 0800 111 757
- Suicide Crisis Helpline - 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)