Is Suicide Contagious? What Robin Williams' Death Means for Young People

August 15, 2014 5:09 PM

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Sometimes what's contagious is obvious. Like the flu. Or as we heard in last week's news, the Ebola virus. Other times what's contagious is less obvious. Like this week's news of Robin Williams' death.

For decades, suicidologists and public health officials have warned of "suicide contagion," meaning the process by which exposure to the suicide or suicidal behavior of one person increases others' likelihood to attempt suicide. The effect of suicide contagion seems to be strongest among adolescents...

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