Suicide from media portrayals and reality: Analysis of Netflix’s serial 13 Reasons Why

The release of 13 Reasons Why on Netflix has led to controversy regarding its influence on teen audience, which is this series’ major target audience. Due to teenagers’ susceptivity about environment, and their relatively fragile mental stability, this subject – media and teenager’s well-being — worth noticing. Several literature reviews of previous studies illustrate the main arguments […]

Young people’s perspectives and understanding of the suicide story in 13 Reasons Why: A qualitative study

Background: The Netflix drama 13 Reasons Why (13RW) focusing on the suicide of an adolescent girl became a global phenomenon. It was accompanied by intense public debate about the risks of exposing youth to fictional portrayals of adolescent suicide. Aims: To explore adolescents’ subjective perspectives and understanding of 13RW focusing on the portrayal of adolescent suicide. Method: We applied a thematic analysis […]

13 Reasons Why: Perceptions and correlates of media influence in psychiatrically hospitalized adolescents

Objective The Netflix series 13 Reasons Why (13RW) has sparked controversy due to graphic depictions of youth suicide, bullying, and sexual assault. However, further research is needed examining experiences of the show among youth with psychiatric illness. This exploratory, mixed-methods study examines adolescents’ perceptions of 13RW and associations among viewership, suicide-related media influence processes, and self-injurious thoughts and behaviors […]

Suicides in young people in Ontario following the release of “13 Reasons Why”

Objective: “13 Reasons Why,” a Netflix series, included a controversial depiction of suicide that has raised fears about possible contagion. Studies of youth suicide in the United States found an increase on the order of 10% following release of the show, but this has not been replicated in other countries. This study aims to begin to […]

Investigating viewership of season 3 of “13 Reasons Why” and the mental wellness of adolescents: Partially randomized preference trial

Background: A conflicting body of research suggests that additional investigation is needed to understand how globally watched television shows featuring social and mental health issues, such as 13 Reasons Why, might affect adolescents’ mental wellness. Objective: This study aims to investigate adolescents’ viewership of the third season of the Netflix drama 13 Reasons Why (13RW-3) […]

13 reasons why not: A methodological and meta-analytic review of evidence regarding suicide contagion by fictional media

Background For decades, policymakers and suicide prevention advocates have questioned whether exposure to media with suicide themes, whether television, movies, or music, could increase suicide risk among youth. To date, no clear picture has emerged, with data inconsistent Aims To access whether current evidence can support concerns that fictional media increases risk of viewer suicidal […]

The portrayal of sucidal behavior in police television series.

Fictional suicidal behavior can affect the public as a risk or a protective factor, and it may reflect how suicide is perceived in a society. However, surprisingly little is known of how suicidal behavior is portrayed in television series. The aim of this study was to investigate the characteristics of televised fatal and non-fatal suicidal […]

Changing conceptions of death as a function of depression status, suicidal ideation, and media exposure in early childhood

Objective This study characterized 3- to 6-year-old children’s understanding of death as a function of depression status, suicidal ideation (SI), and media consumption. Method Participants were 79 children with depression (3.0–6.11 years old) who completed a comprehensive psychiatric assessment and experimenter-led death interview and a comparison group of 60 healthy children (4.0–7.12 years old). The […]

Thirteen reasons why: The impact of suicide portrayal on adolescents’ mental health

We aimed to investigate the influence of media portrayals of suicide on adolescents’ mood, focusing on the case of 13 Reasons Why, a webseries that raised concerns for approaching suicide explicitly for an audience mostly composed of adolescents. There is already evidence of an increase in suicide-related Internet searches shortly following its release. Our study included 7004 […]

Suicide attempt admissions from a single children’s hospital before and after the introduction of Netflix series 13 Reasons Why

Purpose Release of the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why in March 2017 raised concern over associated suicide attempts. This study aimed to identify trends in self-harm admissions to a tertiary children’s hospital with special attention paid to the time after series release. Methods Records for admitted patients ages 4–18 years from January 2012 to October 2017 were identified […]

13 Reasons Why: Viewing patterns and perceived impact among youths at risk of suicide

Objective: The streaming series 13 Reasons Why generated controversy because of its depiction of teen suicide and concerns about its impact on vulnerable youths. This study examined exposure to and patterns of engagement with the show and the show’s perceived impact in a sample of youths presenting to a psychiatric emergency department (ED) with suicide-related concerns in […]

Suicide portrayal in the Canadian media: Examining newspaper coverage of the popular Netflix series ’13 Reasons Why’

Background Evidence suggests that the media can influence societal attitudes and beliefs to various social issues. This influence is especially strong for mental health issues, particularly suicide. As such, the aim of this study is to systematically examine Canadian newspaper coverage of the popular fictional Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, wherein the lead character dies by […]

Exploring how teens and parents responded to 13 Reasons Why: United States report.

KEY FINDINGS 1. 13 Reasons Why resonated with teens and young adults, and they felt it was beneficial for them and people their age to watch. 2. 13 Reasons Why provided teens, young adults, and even parents with information about various difficult topics. 3. Adolescents and young adults reported seeking information about the tough topics following […]

Copycat Effects of Fictional Suicide: a Meta-Analysis (IN: Suicide and the Creative Arts, edited by S Stack & D Lester)

This chapter provides a quantitative review of the literature on fictional suicide (movies, novels, & plays) & its effects on contagion & imitative suicide in the real world. Hypotheses are tested on under what conditions the fictional stories will be most likely to elicit copycat effects. This study supplements a previous review which only examined […]

Suicide in Films: the Impact of Suicide Portrayals on Nonsuicidal Viewers’ Well-Being and the Effectiveness of Censorship

The effects of suicide films on recipients’ emotional & mental states, as well as the influence of censorship, was studied. 154 nonsuicidal Austrian subjects watched the original or a censored version of a suicide film or a drama without suicide. Data were collected by questionnaires. The viewing led to a deterioration of mood & an […]

Representations of Non-Suicidal Self-Injury in Motion Pictures


A Review of the Literature Regarding Film and Television Drama Portrayals of Suicide

This report reviews studies of the portrayal of suicide in television drama & films & its potential consequences. The literature on the impact of fictional on-screen suicides on actual suicidal behaviour is equivocal but provides some support for an imitation effect. The majority of studies have demonstrated completed & attempted suicide rates show unexpected rises […]

Suicide and the Media

This article includes a discussion between D Shaffer and M S Gould.

Psychiatry and the Media


Responding to Manipulative Suicide Threats

Published in “Back to the Future: Refocusing the Image of Suicide,” ed. by J L McIntosh

Suicide-Suggestive Themes in Rock Music and Videos

Published in “Back to the Future: Refocusing the Image of Suicide,” ed. by J L McIntosh

Media and Suicide

Published in “Back to the Future: Refocusing the Image of Suicide,” ed. by J L McIntosh

The Impact of Televised Movies About Suicide

For the original article by Gould & Shaffer, please see SIEC #1986-1466. For the replication study by Phillips & Paight, please see SIEC #1987-1753.