Ask Sam letter


To Sam

My friend C

My friend c had a tough time recently when her friend commited suicide. Because of this she got depression and now she cuts. Ive been trying to help her but she has bad relapses and gets easily triggered. She has been trying the butterfly prodject but i dont think it's working because 3 days ago she etched 'R I P' into her skin. The worst thing is i cant help her. Ive got absolutly no idea what i can do or say to stop her cutting and she's been doing it for 3 months. I wish she would stop because i really dont want her to really hurt herself.

Please can you help me

Ask Sam


Hi there

Thanks for your letter and well done for explaining to me what’s happening with your friend C. It sounds like you’re such a good friend and you are right, C does seem to be having a tough time and I feel it would really help for her to have some support. It can be so hard when we see someone we care about harming themselves and we are unsure what to do or how best to help.

I can see how hard it is for you when you are doing as much as you can to help but are unsure of the best thing to do. I can also tell that it’s upsetting for you to know that C is hurting herself. You are showing such kindness to C by being someone she can talk to when she needs to. At the same time, it’s important for you to remember to look after yourself too because being worried about someone can feel draining.

If C has been doing The Butterfly Project even it's it's not working, it does sound like she might want to stop self-harming. For some young people, they need to try different distraction techniques, to find out which one works best for them. 

If C wanted to talk to a ChildLine counsellor, they can help her to explore her feelings about self-harm and also talk to her about different distraction techniques. One of the ways you could help would be to talk to her about what it’s been like to contact ChildLine and maybe have a look at the ChildLine website together.

I know you would like to have something to say to her that would get her to stop cutting but just being there to listen to her can be the best thing you can do to help, it might help C understand her reasons for self-harming. I feel that you might be putting a lot of pressure on yourself by thinking you need to say the right thing to her.

This sounds big for you to deal with by yourself and so I’m wondering if you could maybe talk to an adult who you trust, so that you have some support too. If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, then why not talk to a ChildLine counsellor and let them support you. You can ring to speak to a counsellor for free on 0800 1111 or have a 1-2-1 chat on-line with a counsellor, which works like msn.

Thanks again for this letter.

Take really good care


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