Ask Sam letter


To Sam

unsure on how to help

so recently my friend hasn't been herself, and is really emotional and I'm not really sure how to help, she has been very down in the past and even once resorted to attempting suicide, she gets lots of councilling but I want to be able to help and I'm not sure how.. she has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and anxiety, and I want to know if there's any way at all I should help? or if I should leave that to the councillors
Ask Sam


Hi there,

It can be really hard when someone you care about is having a difficult time and feeling down. And it’s normal to be unsure about how to help and support them. But you've been a really good friend supporting them with what they're going through.

Sometimes, people feel so low and desperate that they might self-harm or want to end their life. It can hard to understand when a friend does something like this but it’s really important they know there are people around them for support.

Your friend might find it hard to talk about how they feel or what’s going on. This can be because they don’t want to make people worry about their problems. Or they might feel it’s just too hard to put into words. This feeling can sometimes lead to anxiety or them harming themselves.

It can be helpful to tell your friend that you’re there for them. Let them know you will listen to them when they feel ready to talk. It can sometimes be a simple as asking your friend how you can help them or asking them if they want to talk.

You could ask if they want to do something they enjoy. It could be something you both normally do or used to do in the past before things changed for your friend.

It's good to encourage your friend to see their counsellor.  You could also suggest they talk to a doctor as well. 

But you can also help a friend organise a plan for times when they feel really low or alone and feel as though they might harm themselves.

There’s some really helpful advice on coping with self-harm and coping with suicidal feelings that you could show them. Or you could encourage them to talk to a ChildLine counsellor at times like this. Our counsellors can help them understand difficult, negative feelings. It can help them cope with what's going on.

It can be really difficult to help a friend, and it’s also important to look after yourself. Remember that you can always talk to us about what’s going on and how you feel. 

Take care,

Need help straight away?

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

Ask me a question

You can ask me about anything you want, there's nothing too big or small. I read every single letter but I can only answer a few each week. My replies are published here on my page.

Write me a letter