Netflix series "13 Reasons Why" is drawing a lot of attention following the release of a study that claims it is tied to the recent increase of suicide searches online.
The research paper, which was published in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal, posits that the show's graphic depiction of suicide poses a risk to young people who struggle with mental health issues. According to John W. Ayers, lead author and research professor at San Diego State University, online researches relating to suicide had dramatically increased since "13 Reasons Why" premiered in March.
For example, the study revealed that the search phrase "how to commit suicide" was up 26 percent than normal, while "suicide prevention" rose by 23 percent. The phrase "suicide hotline number," on the other hand, went up 21 percent. The data was gathered using Google search.
Ayers said the show definitely raised awareness on the sensitive issue, considering how thousands of people have been using the Web to search for ways "to kill themselves."
"13 Reasons Why" is based on Jay Asher's novel of the same title that follows the story of a teenager named Hannah Baker (played by Katherine Langford). Before she committed suicide, she left 13 cassette tapes addressed to specific people who allegedly pushed her to end her own life. The show has already been renewed for season 2.
In a statement from Netflix that was given to CNN, the company said that they have taken into consideration all the possibilities before airing the series.
The show was rated TV-MA. And when episodes 9, 12 and 13, which had explicit contents, aired, Netflix included specific warnings at the beginning of each episode.
Before "13 Reasons Why" debuted, the company also launched a website (13ReasonsWhy.info) with links to different suicide helplines. Several mental health professionals and doctors were also consulted by the executive producers to guide them on the best storytelling approach on the sensitive topics featured.
"We always believed this show would increase discussion around this tough subject matter. This is an interesting quasi experimental study that confirms this. We are looking forward to more research and taking everything we learn to heart as we prepare for season 2," Netflix's statement read.