Study shows link between TV drama and teen suicides

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A new study has established a link between the popular Netflix drama 13 Reasons Why and a spike in the number of teenage suicides, according to The Huffington Post.

The programme, which began in 2017, has more than 6 million viewers in the US alone and  has been linked with 195  suicides among young people aged 10 to 17.

In the programme, high school student Hannah Baker posthumously narrates the months leading up to her death by suicide. She leaves behind tapes for people in her life that describe how their actions ultimately led to her decision. The show also contains a graphic scene of her death.

A study published last week in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry analysed suicide data from Jan. 1, 2013, to Dec. 31, 2017 ― before and after 13 Reasons Why premiered on March 31, 2017 ― and took into account factors such as the existing increase in monthly suicide rates. The number of suicides recorded in April 2017 was greater than any other single month in that five-year period, and more young men died by suicide than young women overall. There was no significant link between the show and deaths by suicide in adults 18 and older.

Jeff Bridge, one of the study’s authors, said: “There is good evidence that graphic and sensationalised portrayals of suicide in news and entertainment media can increase risk of contagion, especially among vulnerable youth.

“However, when done responsibly, media depictions of suicide can help to reduce stigma and promote help-seeking and support.”

If you or someone you know needs help, contact Samaritans  on the free helpline 116 123.




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