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’13 Reasons Why’ Is the New ‘Grand Theft Auto,’ Blamed for Increase in Suicide Searches

13 Reasons Why is a controversial show on Netflix that deals with a controversial topic like suicide. So obviously the show is to blame for every suicide attempt until the end of time.

It’s the Grand Theft Auto argument all over again.

Psychiatrist John Ayers conducted a study on suicide-related searches following the release of the show in March. Here’s what he found:

Ayers and his team looked at aggregate internet search data in the U.S., obtained from Google Trends. They focused on 2017 searches that took place between March 31 (when 13 Reasons Why was released) and April 18, a cut-off date chosen to control for suicide-related searches about former NFL player Aaron Hernandez’s death on April 19. Researchers also excluded the term “squad” in them, to account for searches related to Suicide Squad.

The findings indicated that there were marked spikes in suicide-related searches in early April. Some of that spike came from people seeking help—searches for “suicide hotlines” and “suicide prevention” increased by 12 percent and 23 percent, respectively. But there was also a disturbing increase in searches for the phrases “how to kill yourself” (up 9 percent), “commit suicide” (18 percent), and “how to commit suicide” (26 percent).

Ok, while I respect the study that was done, what does this prove? Did the actual number of suicide deaths go up? Because that’s the real indicator here. Searching for something could be nothing more than research related to the show. I have to search for stuff all the time that ties into article or paper research. Couldn’t it be possible that a lot of students wrote papers on the show, wanted to research suicide in further detail, and thus the reason for the increased results?

Show me that suicide deaths have gone up and we’ll have this discussion again.

Ayers even called for Netflix to remove or edit the show. Then talked about his upcoming spin-off 1 Reason More.

“I’d create a show that offers a message those contemplating suicide need to hear—a success story of how someone contemplating suicide sought and was given help, and persevered to have a full life,” Ayers suggests. “This is where 13 Reasons Why totally misses the mark.”

I’m convinced that he never watched the show and has never had suicidal thoughts. If he did, he’d know that Hannah’s struggle was pretty accurate and that it’s not as simple as “getting help and persevering.”

Also, how about conducting another study following the suicides of Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington? If results are up even further, maybe we should ask them to come back to life, get help, and persevere so they don’t miss the mark either.

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