13 Reasons Why was a huge success right off the bat. It tells the story of Hannah Baker, a teenage girl who committed suicide after being bullied. This show has been talked about widely and praised for highlighting the consequences of the bullying that many young people experience daily.
Except a new study has suggested that the Netflix series may have done more harm than good. Indeed, a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry found that the suicide rate has increased among American teenagers since 13 Reasons Why was first broadcast.
An alarming finding
The first season of 13 Reasons Why aired on March 31, 2017. Dr. Jeffrey Bridge and his team at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Ohio noted that suicides had a "significant" increase of 30% among 10 to 17 year-olds, one month after the release of the series. Boys have been the most affected by this sad record.
However, Dr. Jeffrey Bridge does not have anything concrete to link this rise in suicides with 13 Reasons Why. No one is certain that the series is the cause of this observation. Nonetheless, the doctor told AFP that Netflix's programme treats the issue of suicide in a way that is "unrealistic and sensationalist". He also thinks that "It can be traumatic for those whose loved ones have committed suicide or who have attempted suicide, and this may also in some cases provide an example."
The conclusion of the study is to be taken with a grain of salt, but it's definitely worth considering the real world impact that the things we see on screen can have.