Ask Sam letter


To Sam

Suicidal Friend

Dear Sam 

I have a friend who I used to go to school with before I moved. I got her number and talked to her online for the past few days. I found out that she is very suicidal. She self harms, doesn't see the point in living, hates life and hates herself; her looks her personality, shee thinks she's stupid. It's so bad that she's even planned when she's going to die, where and how. I promised not to tell anyone but that was just so I could find out how bad her sidtuation was. I really want to tell my mum but then she will tell her parents (her parents don't know that she self harms) and then I will lose her trust because then she'd know I told my mum. She says her me and her friends at school are keeping her alive so if she finds out I stabbed her in the back I don't know if she could cope. But by not saying anything I could be responsible for her death!!! UGH I'm in such a dilemma! I don't know what to do! Please help :(

Yours sincerely, Anonymous (12, female)

Ask Sam


Hello there,

I’m really glad you have been able to email me to ask for help. When something is concerning you, sharing it with someone is the right thing to do.

I can see you feel pulled in two directions when you think of what to do - tell your mum and risk losing your friend's trust, or keep it to yourself and risk feeling responsible for her death. It is a difficult position to be in but I think it is a positive thing that your friend was able to be so honest with you. It might be that your friend told you because she wants some help and does not know what to do.

I do want you to know that whatever your friend might do would be her choice, you can’t be responsible for the actions of another person, even if it feels like you are.

Sometimes when people are feeling very down their feelings can start to feel too much for them to cope with. This can cause them to have thoughts they wouldn’t normally have such as wanting to die. During those times it is important that they get professional help so they don’t act on their feelings. With the right support, feelings can and often do change.

I do think an adult needs to know so telling your mum is a very good idea. Perhaps once you tell your mum you could speak with your friend and let her know so is she aware that her mum might speak with her. Telling an adult will also give you some support as hearing someone you care for wants to die can be very distressing. 

If you really don’t think you can tell an adult you could either speak with your friend again, let her know how worried you are and that you think she needs to get help from an adult, and then offer to be with her when she tells someone.

The other option is to suggest she speak with a ChildLine counsellor. She can call free on 0800 1111, or log on for a 1-2-1 chat which are both anonymous. If she was nervous about doing that you could again offer to be there whilst she is talking. Remember the counsellors are there to help and support you and your friend.

Supporting a friend is difficult but you can read some more advice about that that on our Advice about helping a friend page.

The important thing to remember is that your friend needs some help – at first she might be upset that you have told someone but in time she might realise that you told someone because you were concerned. Remember if you think your friend needs immediate help then do ring 999.

Take care, and remember we are here both for you and your friend,

Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

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