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'13 Reasons Why' Led to An Alarming Uptick in Suicide Searches

When Netflix released the teen suicide drama 13 Reasons Why in March, it automatically both repulsed and captivated viewers who saw the show’s graphic portrayal of the aftermath of suicide as controversial.

Spoiler alert: Spoiler’s for 13 Reasons Why ahead.

Based on a novel by Jay Asher, the show vividly illustrates protagonist Hannah Baker’s suicide in the finale. While some argue that the series was an accurate depiction of depression and brings much need awareness to mental health issues, many mental health experts criticized the show because they believed it glorifies suicide. A study published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine, however, suggests the show’s portrayal of suicide is more complicated than “good” or “bad”.

Researchers saw a 19 percent increase in suicide search terms after the '13 Reasons Why' started streaming on Netflix

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The researchers looked at Google search trends 19 days after the series premiered (between March 31 to April 18) for key phrases, then compared them to the search trends from January to the launch of the show.

They found a 19 percent increase in all suicide search inquiries, particularly “how to commit suicide,” “commit suicide,” and “how to kill yourself.” The fact that these suicide-related searches were spiking so much perhaps support criticism that the show glamorized suicide, making it seem cool.

There’s reason to consider these Google trends reflective of actual suicide rates. According to a review published in the journal American Behavioral Scientist, evidence of suicide in the news and in fictional portrayals have led to increased rates of suicide, making 13 Reasons Why’s singular focus of suicide as a plot point one that is potentially worrisome.

But on the bright side, the study indicates there’s hope that the Netflix hit might double as a public health message. The researchers noticed saw an increase of searches for suicide prevention. Searches for “suicide hotline number” and “suicide hotline” increased by 21 percent and 12 percent respectively, while there was a 23 percent increase for the search terms “suicide prevention” and a 34 percent increase for “teen suicide.”

“It is unclear whether any query preceded an actual suicide attempt,” the authors note, which is an important caveat to the study — and one that puts the show up for further studies going forward on how it affects teen suicide rates.

FaceApp Uncannily Captures These Classic Biological Signs of Aging 

A guide to what it is, exactly, that makes faces look so old.

This week, celebrities ranging from the Jonas Brothers to Ludacris gave us a peek into what they might look like in old age, all with the help of artificial intelligence. But how exactly has FaceApp taken a stable of celebrities and transformed them into elderly versions of themselves? The app may be powered by A.I., but it’s informed by the biology of aging.

Six NASA Astronauts Describe the Moment in Space When "Everything Changed"

"This is what heaven must look like."

There’s no squinting in space. Things appear small, sure. From your vantage point, 254 miles above Earth, even the colossal Kapok trees of the Amazon are reduced to a verdant swirl in a cat-eye marble. But in space, as six NASA astronauts tell Inverse, what you see isn’t necessarily what you envision. Up there, where perspective is immeasurably wide, it’s impossible to miss the forest for the trees.

Uncanny Valley Researchers Pinpoint What Makes the 'Cats' Trailer So Creepy

"I personally did not find it to be creepy, but I think I have a pretty high threshold."

Cats, a sung-through 1981 Andrew Lloyd Webber fever dream based on a T.S. Eliot book of children’s poems about cats and sociology, is the latest musical to get the live-action treatment. It’s not the best idea. As weirded-out responses to the surreal trailer released Thursday suggested, the world is not ready for humanoid cats, which seem to have crept directly out of the uncanny valley. Valley guides agree.

2024 Moon Timeline Is "Extremely Tight," Says Former NASA Flight Director

"American industry, if it gets turned on, can do just about anything."

Whether or not you recognize Milt Windler’s name, you have definitely heard about his escapades. A retired NASA Flight Director, Windler was one of four flight directors on the Apollo 13 operations team, all of whom were awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Richard Nixon for their work in guiding the crippled spacecraft safely back to Earth.

Humans Aren't the Only Animals That Form Complex, Tiered Societies

"It would almost be more surprising if these were simply random interactions."

Each of us is a single node in a branching web of family, friends, and acquaintances. As our ancient ancestors transitioned from small, autonomous groups to a complex network of associations, scientists theorize that we humans, boosted by our social brains, became the only animals capable of creating a multi-tiered society. However, new evidence in Proceedings of the Royal Society B suggests that a close relative of ours exists in a similar system: the gorilla.