Since the March 2017 premier of the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why” about a teenage girls suicide, US health experts said that it glamorised the topic for some young people and led to an increase in suicide rates in the country.
The new study, posted on Monday by the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, found that suicide rates spiked in the month after the release of the series among boys aged 10 to 17, reports The New York Times.
That month, April 2017, had the highest overall suicide rate for this age group in the past five years, the study found; the rate subsequently dropped back into line with recent trends, but remained elevated for the year.
Suicide rates for girls aged 10 to 17, the demographic expected to identify most strongly with the show’s protagonist, did not increase significantly.
The study is likely to fuel further debate about the merits of “13 Reasons Why,” the third season of which is in production.
“Suicide is a problem worldwide, and it’s so hard to knock these rates down,” said Lisa M. Horowitz, a staff scientist in the National Institute of Mental Health’s Intramural Research Programme, and an author of the paper.
“The last thing we need is something that increases them.”
In a statement, a Netflix spokesperson said: “We’ve just seen this study and are looking into the research, which conflicts with last week’s study from the University of Pennsylvania,” which focused on young adults.
“This is a critically important topic and we have worked hard to ensure that we handle this sensitive issue responsibly.”