Editor’s note: This story contains details of a suicide attempt that may be triggering for some.
In the days after Logic performed his emotional single “1-800-273-8255” at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards, calls to the number — which connects callers to the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline — increased by 50%, according to the organization. But a new study from the BMJ, a peer-reviewed medical trade journal from the British Medical Association, reported that in addition to soliciting almost 10,000 more calls to the Lifeline, the performance can also be tied to a 5.5% reduction in suicide rates among 10-19-year-olds.
The reduction came in three time frames: the first 34 days after the song’s release in April 2017, the period after the Aug. 2017 performance — which was preceded by a powerful speech from Kesha about the song’s impact — as well as a 2018 Grammy Awards performance.
“To know that my music was actually affecting people’s lives, truly, that’s what inspired me to make the song,” Logic told CNN on Monday (Dec. 13). “We did it from a really warm place in our hearts to try to help people. And the fact that it actually did, that blows my mind.”
The study found that the Lifeline received nearly 10,000 more calls, in addition to the observed reduction in suicide rates among 10-19-year-olds during those periods. That BMJ reported that that decrease equals a reduction of 245 suicides below the expected number during that time frame. “Logic’s song ‘1-800-273-8255’ was associated with a large increase in calls to Lifeline. A reduction in suicides was observed in the periods with the most social media discourse about the song,” read the report’s conclusion.
A spokesperson for the Lifeline confirmed that calls to the line increased by 50% in the hours immediately after the VMA performance and that the positive message delivered on the broadcast has continued to have a lasting impact. “Previous research has shown that calls to the Lifeline reduce emotional distress and suicidality in callers, while other findings have also demonstrated that media sharing stories of hope and recovery also can reduce suicides. Logic’s song combined both messages in one, and this new study in The BMJ finds that the song was associated with a large increase in calls to the Lifeline, as well as reductions in suicides with the most social media discourse about the song,” said Lifeline spokesperson Kate Formichella in a statement to Billboard.
“Celebrities but also noncelebrities can have an important role in suicide prevention if they communicate about how they have coped with crisis situations and suicidal ideation,” study author Thomas Niederkrotenthaler told CNN. The study also notes that, “Logic’s song likely represents the broadest and most sustained suicide prevention messaging directly connected to a story of hope and recovery in any location to date and is thus a serendipitous event for research.”
“I’ve been praying for somebody to save me, no one’s heroic … And my life don’t even matter, I know it, I know it … They say every life precious but nobody care about mine,” Logic raps on the track that tells the story of a man’s battle with suicidal thoughts, which spurs him to calls the Lifeline rather than take his life; Alessia Cara plays the crisis counselor who answers his call on the song that also features Khalid. The song spent four week at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and received Grammy nominations for song of the year and best music video.
Check out the song’s video below.
If you’re thinking about suicide, or are worried about a friend or loved one, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, available 24 hours, at 1-800-273-8255.