Ethan Phillips was 13 years old when he first heard the term "suicide contagion."
It's the scientific concept that after one person dies by suicide, others in the community may be at higher risk.
Phillips learned the phrase growing up in Fairfax County, Va., where more than a dozen teens and preteens died by suicide while he was in middle school. It came up again when a high school classmate killed himself. By the time Phillips entered college at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 2019, he'd developed "an unfortunate level of experience" in dealing with the topic, he says.
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