(NEW YORK) — The hit ABC drama A Million Little Things, about a close group of friends left reeling when suicide unexpectedly claims one of their own, takes its inspiration from a very real place.

Appearing on the latest episode of the podcast Life After Suicide, hosted by ABC News Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton, creator and executive producer DJ Nash explains the deeply personal experience behind the series.

He recounts running into an old friend on the street a few years ago and making plans to have lunch the next week. But before they could meet up again, he learned his friend had killed himself.

“I don’t feel for a second like my lunch, our lunch, could’ve saved him,” Nash says. “But I do feel a lot of seconds like, we could have had one more lunch.”

Nash ended up channeling those feelings into A Million Little Things and, in turn, helping audiences cope with their own tragedies.

“In the year that we’ve been on the air with social media and with 5K races we do where we meet fans, the biggest surprise for me this season is, wow, I set out to tell my story — what I realized along the way is we were telling all of our stories,” he says. 

A Million Little Things — starring David Giuntoli, Romany Malco, Allison Miller and Christina Moses —  will return for season two on ABC this fall.

(The number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.)

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