A title that would have avoided many suicides. Thanks to his song “1-800-273-8255” released in April 2017, referring to the number of the American anti-suicide phone line, rapper Logic would have prevented the death of 245 people, according to an English study published this Monday, December 13.
To arrive at these results, the scientists analyzed the Twitter activity associated with the song between April 2017 and April 2018, seeing spikes during its airing upon its release, during the MTV Video Music Awards 2017 and the Grammy Awards 2018.
By isolating the 34 days when these three events received the most attention, they found that the US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline hotline recorded a 6.9% increase in calls and a 5.5% decrease in suicides, That’s 245 lives saved, according to the British Medical Journal study.
The song in collaboration with Khalid and Alessia Cara enjoyed strong circulation around the world with a third place occupied on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States and more than a billion plays on Spotify in total.
Starring a high school student experiencing problems with his sexuality and having suicidal tendencies, the song highlighted the role of the prevention network, which succeeded in dissuading the young man.
The Werner and Papageno effects
“In suicide prevention, we strive to have an impact on the change of conversation to focus more on hope and recovery”, analyzed Thomas Niederkrotenthaler, professor at the University of Medicine in Vienna (Austria) , for the Washington Post.
The study also highlights what is known as the Papageno effect. The latter brings together all the positive aspects presented by culture, whether through music or in the media, with speeches promoting alternatives to suicide.
Conversely, the Werther effect encompasses all the speeches that will, voluntarily or not, incite suicide, such as the strong media coverage of the suicide of an artist, which will have the effect of increasing deaths through this bias.
According to another study published in 2010 by the same professor Thomas Niederkrotenthaler, the risk of suicide increased by 13% after the suicide of a celebrity, giving relief to the importance of the Werther effect.