Four years ago, rapper Logic released his hit song “1-800-273-8255” — a reference to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline — in. A new study released this week found it did just that: researchers say the song potentially helped saved hundreds of lives.
The study, published Monday in the BMJ, found almost 10,000 calls went to the Lifeline — a 6.9% increase over the expected number — during 34 days in 2017 and 2018 when the song was receiving heightened public attention. And an estimated 245 fewer suicides took place in that same time period — 5.5% below the expected number.
The study authors’ looked at the days immediately following the song’s release, Logic’s performance at the 2017 MTV Awards with singers Alessia Cara and Khalid, and their act at the 2018 Grammys. According to the research, those events were also linked to a surge of activity connected to the song on Twitter.
The study said the potential impact of the song may show what’s known as the “Papageno effect.” According to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, it is the influence mass media can have on reducing suicides by “responsibly reporting on suicide and presenting non-suicide alternatives to crises.”
“To know that my music was actually affecting people’s lives, truly, that’s what inspired me to make the song,” Logic said in a statement to CNN. “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 song centers around a high school student struggling with his sexuality and contemplating suicide. However, after a call to a hotline, he realizes he wants to live. The song went quintuple platinum and remained Logic’s best performing song on Spotify with more than 1 billion streams. On YouTube, it has over 430 million views.
Logic, whose real name is Sir Robert Bryson Hall II, told “CBS Sunday Morning” in 2017 that he did not have suicidal thoughts, but said his fans convinced him to tackle the subject.
“I just wanted them to know that they really weren’t alone,” he said. “That’s why I write songs like that. That’s why I’m myself. That’s why I walk around with fanny packs and love sci-fi and say it, because I want people to be themselves, no matter who they are or what they do.”