A scientific study associates a drop in suicides with a hip-hop song

"Man, I wasn't trying to save anyone's life." The American rapper Logic was quite sincere in 2017, in statements to the Genius music portal. This thirty-something musician did not know that his song entitled '1-800-273-8255' was going to help prevent deaths. Now a multinational study Posted by the British Medical Journal puts it black on white.

Led by researchers from the University of Vienna, Austrian, Canadian and American experts wanted to see if the 'B-side' existed of the so-called 'Werther Effect'.

In the 70s of the last century, the psychologist David Phillips named a phenomenon known since the 19th century: numerous readers of 'The Sorrows of Young Werther', by the German writer Goethe, took to emulating the protagonist and took their own lives .

News of celebrity suicides has been associated with a 13% increase in these types of deaths among the general public

This imitation effect has been later confirmed by several studies: repeated information on deaths by suicide or potentially lethal actions triggers more suicides.

Celebrity suicide stories, often highly repetitive over a specific period of time, have come to be associated with a 13% increase in these types of deaths among the general public.

Now scientists have found that there is indeed a 'B-side' of the 'Werther Effect', although they do not take the step of calling it the 'Logic Effect'. The truth is that the dissemination of a song with a specific, positive message has coincided with a reduction in the number of cases of people taking their own lives.

The method

The Logic song attracted enormous public attention thanks to three separate events: its release on April 28, 2017; the performance at the MTV Video Music Awards, on August 27, 2017; and her performance at the Grammy Awards on January 28, 2018.

Researchers have retrieved all original US geolocated tweets that contained the search terms "Logic" and "1-800-273-8255", allowing them to generate a comprehensive data set from March 1, 2017 to April 30, 2018, spanning the entire period prior to release and during the song's presence on Billboard's Hot 100 chart.

Lifeline received almost 10,000 more calls than expected

Then, based on those periods of strong social media attention on the song, they investigated the temporal association between each of the identified events and the calls to the suicide helpline (Lifeline). In the 34-day period after the three events, Lifeline received nearly 10,000 more calls than expected. In the same period, the number of suicides fell 5.5%, registering 245 fewer deaths than expected.

"These results - point out the researchers in the article to which elDiario.es has had access - highlight the potential benefit for the health of the population that involves working in a creative and innovative way with the music and entertainment industry, to promote powerful new help-seeking stories that resonate with a wide audience. "


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