Following Season Finale Of “13 Reasons Why,” Internet Suicide Search Queries Higher Than Expected

In “To Your Health,” the Washington Post (7/31, Murgia) reports that the season finale of the Netflix TV series “13 Reasons Why” in which a 17-year-old girl kills herself may “have triggered suicidal thoughts in its viewers, many of whom are young people.” Researchers found that “overall,” Internet “suicide queries were 19 percent higher in the 19 days following the series’ release, reflecting 900,000 to 1.5 million more searches than expected.” The findings were published online July 31 as a research letter in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Reuters (7/31, Rapaport) reports that Kimberly McManama O’Brien, PhD, LICSW, “co-author of an accompanying editorial (7/31) and a psychiatry researcher at Harvard Medical School in Boston,” said in an email to Reuters, “The choice to graphically depict the suicide death of the star of the series was a controversial decision.” O’Brien added, “Research has shown that pictures or detailed descriptions of how or where a person died by suicide can be a factor in vulnerable individuals.”

Also covering the story are the Washington Times (7/31, Kelly), the AP (7/31, Tanner), AFP (7/31), TIME (7/31, Schrobsdorff), HealthDay (7/31, Mozes), Healio (7/31, Tedesco), and Medical Daily (7/31, Delzo).

Related Links:

— “A million more web searches about suicide after ‘13 Reasons Why’,” Lisa Rappaport, Reuters, July 31, 2017.

Posted in In The News.