Ask Sam letter


To Sam

my friend needs help but I dont think anyone can help him.

I have a friend at school who self harms on his wrists quite badly. A school teacher caught him and told a school doctor. since then he has seen the doctor but the doctor hasnt helped him and I am scared that he is getting worse. he recentley went away from home and self harmed while he was away. I havent seen him in almost a month because his doctor has taken him out of school. He is always depressed and when I text him I dont know what to say to him. Recentley he has been becoming more and more distant and he says that he doesn't like life or people anymore. I really want to help him but I dont know how. He trusts me and he tells me the reasons why he does it, but I dont know what to say to him and I think he is getting worse. No one seems to be able to help him and I dont want to lose him as a friend. Thx xxx
Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thanks for writing in to me. I can hear how concerned you are about your friend.

From what you’ve said, things are incredibly difficult for your friend right now. I can hear that you’re worried that he isn’t getting the support he needs from his doctor. I imagine it is very scary to feel that no-one seems to be able to help him. It sounds like your friend has been dealing with a lot and it can take time for things to change. There can be several different ways of helping someone who is feeling very depressed, so sometimes it will take a while for a doctor to figure out what will work best.

You’ve said that you don’t want to lose him as a friend and I can hear how much you want things to get better for him. You’ve told me that you’re unsure of what to say to him sometimes. It sounds like he trusts you and will open up to you. This tells me that you are already doing a great job of supporting him. Often just listening and being there for someone can be incredibly helpful. It might be worth having a look at the Explore page on helping others, as it gives advice what to do when supporting a friend who self-harms. There’s also some great advice about how to listen on the Epic friends website. It’s important to remember that if your friend is telling you things that make you think that he’s in danger, you need speak to an adult who will be able to help keep him safe.

In your message it doesn’t say if you have any support for yourself at the moment. Being there for a friend who’s struggling can be very tiring and difficult. Often they might not want other friends to know about their problems, so that can make it hard to share your worries with anyone else. I can hear how stressful this is for you and you deserve to helped with that. It might be worth thinking about talking to the adults in your life about how you’re feeling. From what you’ve said, at least one teacher at school is already aware that your friend is self-harming. What do you think it might be like to talk to them about your friend?

If you want to talk things through in confidence, you can always get in touch with a ChildLine counsellor. You can contact them either on a 1-2-1 chat, for free on 0800 1111 or you can send an email.

Take care


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