Adolescent Suicides

Adolescent suicides; Another study about “13 Reasons Why,” which follows the story of a high school girl who takes her own life, has found that suicides among US youths rose significantly in the months following the popular Netflix show’s release. The latest paper, which was publish in JAMA Psychiatry on Wednesday, estimate a 13% spike in suicides among 10- to 19-year-olds between April and June of 2017, with a higher proportion among females.

Disease Control and Prevention

It drew on the same data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as another paper with similar findings publish a month ago in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. That study estimate an additional 195 suicide deaths an increase of nearly 29% among 10 to 17-year-olds in the nine months after the show’s release.

The new research was conduct by a team led by Thomas Niederkrotenthaler of the Medical University of Vienna’s Center for Public Health. The associations identify here must be interpret with a substantial degree of caution, but they do appear to demonstrate an increase in suicides that is consistent with potential contagion by media,” they wrote.

The team looked at suicides from 1999 to 2017 to establish a model; so that control for variables such as seasonal variations, like known spring peaks in adolescent suicides. Since Netflix does not publicly share its viewership data, the researchers established a proxy to estimate its popularity via the buzz the show generate on social media platforms Twitter and Instagram, which is especially popular among US youths.

Social media attention

The show was release on March 31, 2017, and generate some 11 million tweets within the first three weeks alone; so before tailing off. Because of the absence of social media attention after June 2017; hence they defined the exposure window as April to June, the researchers wrote. The estimate 13.3% increase in deaths corresponds to 94 more suicides; so for the age category than would otherwise be expect over the time period.

The proportion was higher among girls; which the authors attribute to the show’s focus on the suicide of 17-year-old student Hannah Baker. The authors caution that the research’s reliance on so called “ecological data” that is to say; hence estimates base on proxy measures was a limitation; so noting it was not possible to ascertain whether the excess suicide decedents had actually watch’13 Reasons Why.

Experts agree that there’s no single reason people take their own lives; also that rates for teenagers have tragically been increasing for years. The company add that it was difficult to extract causality for spikes; so including increases seen among girls in November 2016 and March 2017, which both predate the show. A study commission by Netflix and carry out by Northwestern University last year find that a majority of teens said; so the show help them understand depression better and empathize with victims of bullying.