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To Sam

How do I help?

Hey Sam,

I have a friend who has been talking about suicide quite often. I have tried to talk her out of some really low moments in the past few months, and I generally managed to help her out a bit, but I am very worried about the things she says. I finally managed to persuade her last week to talk to the school counsellor about the thoughts she's been having, but they called her mum straight away. She said she argued with her mum when she got home (she doesn't have a very good relationship with her anyway) and is refusing to go to the doctor's appointment she's booked.
She now says she wants to move away from her mum, but that would mean living with her brother about 200 miles away, which she doesn't want to do either. She told me the other day that I 'ruined everything' and I feel incredibly guilty about it. I just wanted to help her out but I had the opposite effect and now I'm scared she'll do something drastic. Am I to blame? And how can I help her, or should I just stop trying because I've made it worse?

Any help is appreciated, thank you x

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thanks for your letter.

It can be so hard to know what to do for the best when a friend is talking to you about having difficult feelings. If you’re worried about their safety, it’s important to do something to help them keep safe and that can take a lot of courage. Unfortunately that doesn’t always mean your friend will get the help that they need. Perhaps they might not feel ready to take any help they are offered and none of that is your fault.

The fact you want to help a friend shows how much you care about them, even though they may not always be able to see that.

When someone you care about tells you they have been feeling suicidal, it can be worrying and scary for you. It’s important to remember that if you feel like they are in immediate danger, it would be ok to call 999 and ask for an ambulance or the police to help. You are not responsible for anybody else’s safety so telling an adult you trust when you feel like a friend is in danger, is always the right thing to do. Encouraging them to seek support can be another way to help, whether that’s from a family member, teacher or another adult they trust.

Supporting someone with such difficult feelings can be really hard and it might be a good idea to think about getting some support for yourself. You deserve to have someone who can listen and help you manage your own feelings. You could talk to someone in your life or the counsellors are always there for you. They want to listen and support you whenever you feel like you want to talk.

Take care,

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