The rapper Logic made headlines back in 2017 when he released a song named after the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number. The song, dubbed “1-800-273-8255” details a conversation between a caller and an operator and went on to reach the Top 3 of the Billboard Hot 100.
Now, five years later, a study from the British Medical Journal finds that the song led to a 26 to 27 percent increase in calls to the hotline that year. According to the researchers, the song was explicitly linked to three surges in calls to the hotline: the song’s release, Logic’s performance at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards, and his performance at the 2018 Grammy Awards.
The researchers associate the rise in calls with a phenomenon called the Papageno effect, when a piece of media changes an individual’s decision to die by suicide. The researchers also linked the song to a reduction in deaths by suicide, with up to 245 lives saved.
John Draper, executive director of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, has praised the song as a simple yet effective strategy to make the hotline more accessible. The hotline will become even more accessible in July of 2022, when the hotline will be shortened to just three numbers, 988.
You can contact the US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1-800-273-8255 or the Crisis Test Line by texting HOME to 741741.
Young people in need of help can call Kids Help Phone on 1-800-668-6868.
Source study: British Medical Journal – Association of Logic’s hip hop song “1-800-273-8255” with Lifeline calls and suicides in the United States: interrupted time series analysis