Crisis Text Patterns In Youth Following The Release Of 13 Reasons Why Season 2 And Celebrity Suicides: A Case Study Of Summer 2018

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Kurt D. Michael Ph.D, Professor (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
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Abstract: There is considerable debate in the public arena and among the professional mental health community around the media’s role in increasing suicide risk following exposure to suicide-themed media in youth. A recent example involves the concerning reaction to the release of Netflix's controversial hit teen-suicide drama 13 Reasons Why. This follow-up study examined the association between the release of 13 Reasons Why Season 2 (13RW2), which coincided with two celebrity suicides, and national trends in crisis-related text conversations. We implemented an interrupted time series design to examine changes in daily counts of crisis texts aggregated at the national level following two events: (1) the release of 13RW2 and (2) celebrity suicide deaths of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade. We also performed a sub-analysis of suicide-related crisis conversations following each event. Crisis conversation volume was 42% higher after the release of 13RW2 for 6 of the 18 days of the study period, while crisis text usage was 51% higher for 9 out of the 18 days after the publicized celebrity suicide deaths. Both the release of 13RW2 and the celebrity suicides in the summer of 2018 were followed by an abrupt, but transient rise in crisis help-seeking among adolescents. Media outlets should consider pairing suicide-themed content with crisis support services as a core best practice to reduce the risk of population-level adverse reactions to suicide portrayals or coverage.

Additional Information

Margaret M. Sugg, Kurt D. Michael, Scott E. Stevens, Robert Filbin, Jaclyn Weiser, and Jennifer D. Runkle (2019). Crisis text patterns in youth following the release of 13 Reasons Why Season 2 and celebrity suicides: A case study of summer 2018, Preventive Medicine Reports. Vol. 16, Dec. 2019. Publisher version of record available at:
Language: English
Date: 2019
Text-based crisis services, 13 Reasons Why Season 2, Celebrity suicides, Adolescents

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