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Calls to suicide prevention hotlines increased 50% after rapper Logic’s VMA performance

On Sunday, 27 year old American rapper, Logic, performed his most successful song to date at the MTV Video Music Awards. The song, “1-800-273-8255”, is named after the phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline as it tells the story of a suicidal individual’s experience talking to the lifeline. During his performance, other prominent singers such as Khalid and Alessia Cara as well as volunteers wearing the Lifeline’s number accompanied Logic in his performance.

To help people better understand what the song is about and explain his motivation behind it, Logic said, “So the first hook and verse is from the perspective of someone who is calling the hotline and they want to commit suicide. They want to kill themselves. They want to end their life. When I jumped on a tour bus that started in Los Angeles, California and I ended in New York City and did a fan tour where I went to fan’s houses and shared meals with them, hung out with them, played them my album before it came out. Them along with other people on tour, just fans that I met randomly, they’ve said things like, “Your music has saved my life. You’ve saved my life.” And I was always like, “Aw so nice of you. Thanks.” And I give them a hug and shit but in my mind, I’m like, “What the fuck?” And they’re really serious. And they tat shit on their arms and get shit like lyrics that save their life and in my mind, I was like, “Man I wasn’t even trying to save nobody’s life.” And then it hit me, the power that I have as an artist with a voice. I wasn’t even trying to save your life. Now what can happen if I actually did?”

Logic’s music video shows this through the perspective of a young man’s struggle with his sexuality

After the release of Logic’s song, the NSPL released a statement detailing the exposure the organization got as a result of the song.

According to their report, the day of the song’s release (April 28), the NSPL received the second highest daily call volume in its history, Google searches for the Lifeline’s phone number jumped more than 100% and remain at a new baseline that is 25% higher than before. The Lifeline also saw a huge spike in their social followings with their Facebook page getting 3x its usual traffic, their Twitter reaching over 1 million impressions the week after the song’s release and their website receiving 100,000 more visitors per month than usual.

John Draper, director of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, said, “We can certainly attribute and have seen call increases relative to tragic events and alarming portrayals of suicide in the media — anywhere from (musicians) Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington’s suicides, and (the Netflix show) ’13 Reasons Why.’ ” Draper continued, “But here’s what’s really important: Logic is generating calls with a song about getting help and finding hope. It’s not focusing on tragedy or suicide. In fact, he’s starting conversations about suicide prevention, as opposed to suicide.”

“It’s not just about the calls; it’s about increasing awareness about suicide, and suicide prevention in particular. The calls don’t even begin to count the number of people who, just by listening to the song and hearing the lyrics, feel more hopeful and less alone. There’s really no measuring that impact.”

Watch Logic’s VMA performance below

The lifeline reported a 50% increase in call volume after Logic’s performance’s first and second airings Sunday. While some people called because they were curious where the number led, the majority of people called to thank the organization for their services, get support, and even ask how to volunteer.

Referring to the recent suicides of Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell, both renowned singers, Garret English, the VMA’s executive producer, said, “”This past year, our audience was forced to say goodbye to musicians too soon because of suicide… We want to do more than remember these artists. We want to remind people that suicide is preventable and that there are ways to get help and feel better if you’re struggling emotionally.”

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