Researchers found that for nearly three weeks afterward, there were at least 900,000 more than expected Google searches including the word "suicide".
It was not clear if any searchers attempted suicide after googling, but suicide search trends were correlated with actual suicides, media coverage of suicides were associated with an increase in suicide attempts, and searches for specific methods of suicide increased after the show's release, the authors said.
On the flip side, searches for phrases like "suicide hotline" were up 12pc, and "suicide prevention" rose 23pc.
"It is unclear whether any query preceded an actual suicide attempt", the researchers wrote.
The research letter also reiterated this, with the lead researcher John W. Ayers, an associate research professor at the San Diego State University Graduate School of Public Health telling Science Daily: "The show may have inspired many to act on their suicidal thoughts by seeking out information on how to commit suicide".
"Our analyses suggest '13 Reasons Why, ' in its present form, has both increased suicide awareness while unintentionally increasing suicidal ideation", the researchers wrote in the July 31 issue of the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
For the uninitiated, the show is based on a novel by Jay Asher and is about a teenage girl in high school who commits suicide.
The researchers believe that removing scenes depicting suicide on the show and including support numbers in the episodes might lessen potentially unsafe effects the show may have. Many acknowledged that its premise could potentially open up important, neglected conversations on teen bullying, depression, teen suicide, sexual assault, and more.
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They collected all search phrases containing the word "suicide", except for those accompanied by the word "squad", as those were most likely for the unrelated movie "Suicide Squad", released around the same time.
"I think that people should be concerned that suicide prevention has very little funding, and that people have to go to the internet to find out more about suicide", Fenkel says.
Netflix's breakout hit 13 Reasons Why enjoyed enormous success in the early days of its release and was greeted with positive reviews from viewers and critics. They halted their research on that date because former National Football League player Aaron Hernandez committed suicide on April 19, a development that might have skewed the data. Now, a study has seemingly confirmed these fears. Searches considered "public awareness indicative searches" also rose: The search for "teen suicide" itself increased by 34 percent. "We are looking forward to more research and taking everything we learn to heart as we prepare for season two".
Still, to reduce possible harmful effects from the show, the researchers say the show should follow media guidelines for preventing suicide.
The second season of 13 Reasons Why will be released on Netflix sometime in 2018.
And anyone who's lost a friend or child to suicide knows that you don't need a tape to feel responsible in some way after someone takes their own life.