Since the onset of the show in 2017 featured on Netlfix, “13 Reasons Why,” which chronicles the details leading up to the suicide of a teenage girl, many people feared it would result in an increase in suicide rates among teens in the US. Now, an article published in the The Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
shows a statistical correlation between the start of the series and a jump in suicides of 10 to 17 year-olds, although curiously, this effect was restricted to teenage boys. (Boys are more likely to be successful in a suicide attempt, although this gap is narrowing.) In addition, further clinical data being published in the mental health field show an unprecedented rise in female adolescent suicide between ages 10 and 19. Although the data from the second study is from 1975 to 2016 (before the Netflix series), it would not take a huge leap in logic to infer that the show would not be helpful in bringing the rate down.
In 1774, a semi-autobiographical novel was published in Germany by J.W. von Goethe called The Sorrows of Young Werther, where the protagonist becomes depressed after experiencing unrequited love and commits suicide. Upon publication at the time, there was a rash of suicides by young men throughout the German countryside. Many consider this to be the first known case of social contagion - "transmission of a disease by direct contact with an infected person or object; a disease or poison transmitted in this way; the means of transmission; the transmission of an emotional state, e.g. excitement; a harmful influence."
Despite all this, Netflix is undeterred and in production of the show for a third season. If we know shows like this do harm, why haven’t organizations that claim to want to reduce suicide rates calling for a boycott of Netflix? This would be low-hanging fruit. If you’d like to ask them, here’s their contact info:
It’s not about censorship. It’s about Netflix ignoring the negative influence of their decisions and the need for them to be held accountable for it.