A new study led by San Diego State University’s Graduate School of Public Health revealed that Netflix’s controversial series “13 Reasons Why” prompted a sudden increase in some internet queries regarding suicide.

The study, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, showed that online searches for terms associated with suicide, such as methods, prevention, and awareness, have experienced a sudden uptick following the premiere of the series last March.

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Tracking suicide-related searches

For the study, the researchers tracked suicide-related Google searches in the United States. Using the analytic tool known as “Google Trends,” the researchers collected data from internet queries containing the word “suicide” and other related terminology.

Data used in the study include the searches made following the premiere of “13 Reasons Why” in Netflix (March 31) up to the suicide of former NFL player Aaron Hernandez (April 18).

The researchers observed an overall increase of 19 percent in suicide searches during the study period. A total of 12 out of the 19 days following the series’ premier experienced a higher than expected suicide-related searches, with some of those days having suicide queries that are 15 to 44 percent greater than usual.

Among the top suicide-related search phrase, those with terms associated with suicidal ideation experienced the most increase. The phrase “how to commit suicide” rose by up to 26 percent higher than normal. At the same, time searches for “suicide prevention” and “suicide hotline number” increased by 23 percent and 21 percent, respectively.

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Hannah Baker and '13 Reasons Why'

The hit series was released worldwide on Netflix on March 31, 2017. Given a TV-MA rating, 13 Reasons Why is intended for mature audiences. The beginning of episodes 9, 12 and 13 also contain specific warnings due to a more explicit content.

The series, based on the 2007 young adult book of Jay Asher, follows the story of Hannah Baker and Clay Jensen. After a series of demoralizing circumstances, Hannah committed suicide. The fictional teenage girl left behind 13 mysterious tape recordings; each tape is addressed to a particular person who played a role in Hannah’s decision to end her life.

While some critics and audiences received the show positively, some experts noted that the series might have ignored the World Health Organization’s media guidelines for preventing suicide. These guidelines recommend the avoidance of scenes with detailed description or portrayal of suicide methods.

Co-produced by pop sensation Selena Gomez, the series is scheduled to release its second season in 2018.