Netflix’s hit series “13 Reasons Why” is under fire as a report released on April 28 states that teen suicide rates have risen since the series premiered.
The show tells the story of a high school girl who commits suicide after being bullied by her peers and being subjected to sexual assault. The character Hannah Baker, leaves behind 13 tapes explaining why she killed herself and which people are to blame.
Since the show aired in March of 2017 on the streaming site, suicide rates among teen boys ages 10 to 17 years old are on the rise, according to the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. In the month following the initial release of the show, suicide rates for the same age group jumped to 0.57 per 100,000. This was the highest spike reported in the five-year long study of this age group.
The show had put viewer discretion warnings before the more graphic episodes, as well as additional crisis resources for viewers who may need them.
After the release of the show, schools sent letters home advising parents to take caution regarding their children watching the show, as well as how to have conversations with their children about the subjects depicted in the show. Parents were advised to watch the show with their children so they could take a more active role in the discussions the show could initiate.
Netflix had been warned by Psychologist Dan Reidenberg not to air the show, as he had concerns about the way the subject of the show was handled, and felt there wasn’t resources to encourage teens to reach out if they were struggling. However, he was told by the streaming service that not airing the show wasn’t an option.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, men made up 69.67 percent of suicides in the year 2017 and tend to die 3.54 times more likely to die by suicide than women are. Middle aged men have the highest rates of suicide.
The foundation also states that in 2017 young adults between ages 15 to 24 had a suicide rate of 14.46 percent.
In a statement released in 2017, Netflix stated that the show was meant to start a conversation about suicide among adolescents and adults.
“We’ve heard from our members that ‘13 Reasons Why’ has opened up a dialogue among parents, teens, schools, and mental health advocates around the intense themes and difficult topics depicted in the show,” said Netflix in the statement.