AceShowbiz - Things that some critics feared of the effect of Netflix's controversial drama "13 Reasons Why" may have come true. A new study suggested that suicide-related searches on Google rose significantly following the release of the drama.
Published in JAMA Internal Medicine, the paper studied Google Trends data from the show's release date on March 31 through April 18. Researches said they used that specific dates so search results wouldn't be contaminated with queries relating to suicide of former NFL star Aaron Hernandez. They also removed from their search queries any terms that included "Suicide Squad".
The researches found that the phrase "how to commit suicide" went up 26 percent and "commit suicide" rose 18 percent. In addition, "how to kill yourself" increased by nine percent.
However, there was also a jump search of terms which indicated an increase in suicide awareness. Terms like "suicide hotline number" went up 21 percent, while "teen suicide" rose 34 percent.
"The data shows that '13 Reasons Why' isn't fit for public health," Dr. John Ayers, the study's lead author, told Global News. "Even though it's causing somewhat of an increase in suicide awareness and people seeking information on how to prevent suicide, we saw an increase in searches on how to commit suicide, literally, how to have a painless suicide."
"One hundred percent it did more harm than good. It should be taken down," Ayers added. The research, however, didn't state that "any query preceded an actual suicide attempt."
"13 Reasons Why" followed Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford), a high school student who killed herself after she was bullied. She left 13 cassette tapes, which she recorded before she took her own life, that explained her decision to commit suicide. Back in June, a 23-year-old Peruvian committed suicide and left behind recordings on his computer in a similar way to what Hannah did.
In response to the study, Netflix told PEOPLE in a statement, "We always believed this show would increase discussion around this tough subject matter. This is an interesting quasi experimental study that confirms this. We are looking forward to more research and taking everything we learn to heart as we prepare for season 2."