26 Jan Association of Logic’s Hip Hop song “1-800-273-8255” with Lifeline Calls and Suicides in the United States
ABSTRACT: On 28 April 2017 Logic – an American Hip Hop artist – released the song “1-800-273-8255”, which is the phone number (now 988) for the US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The song focuses on an individual who calls this number and says he no longer wants to live. The call is “a turning point” in the young man’s life, and gives him tools to help him in any future crises. The song was later followed up by a music video which so far has over 437 million views, and was the subject of concurrent media events to promote the video and its message, culminating in a performance at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards. The song made it to the #3 spot in the Billboard Hot 100 music chart in the US.
This research paper by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) looks at the number of calls made to US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline before and after the release of the song. According to this research, the hotline received 9915 more calls than they otherwise would have, representing an increase of 6.9%. This, in turn, translated into a of 245 suicides in the US, or 5.5% fewer than before the song was released.
The release of this song gives us a fascinating window into how music can reach populations that are at risk of depression and/or suicidal ideation, and how its positive message can help motivate people to seek out help. The article explores how the above metrics were derived, and offer a template for how additional research in this area might be carried out.
AUTHOR SUMMARY: Thomas Niederkrotenthaler, Ulrich S Tran, Madelyn Gould, Mark Sinyor, Martin Voracek, Benedikt Till, Sean Murphy, Frances Gonzalez, Matthew J Spittal, John Draper