Ask Sam letter


To Sam


Dear Sam,

I accidently read my friend's email and found out that she is suicidal and has alcohol abuse. She sees no point to life and has made three previous suicide attempts. She hid it from me, how should I react?

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thanks for your letter. I can hear how worried you are about your friend now that you have this new information about her. You’ve asked how you should react and I’m not sure whether you’re asking how you should feel or what you should do, so I’ll try to answer both questions.

In terms of how to feel, however you feel is okay. I understand that having worries for a friend or working out whether you can support them and how to do it is really tough. ChildLine is always here for you if you want to talk it through with us and get some advice and support. There are also the ChildLine message boards where you can ask other young people what they think about your situation, or just read what other young people have posted and get some support that way.

When it comes to what you can do for your friend, I can hear this might be hard. It sounds like she doesn’t know that you’ve read her emails. I don’t know how she’d react if she found out about that. You have said that this was accidental and it might help to explain this to your friend along with your concerns for her. The positive thing seems to be that if she’s written it in an email, she might be telling someone about it and that’s a sign that she might be reaching out for support.

I always advise everyone that if there’s something they need to talk about, ChildLine counsellors are great people to talk to. I know they’d be happy to support your friend. There are also websites like Alateen that provide support for teenagers who are abusing alcohol. But it sounds like it might be tough for you to talk about this with your friend without telling her that you know what’s going on.

Whatever you decide, a ChildLine counsellor will always be there to listen and support you to talk about your feelings, and to work out the best way to help and support your friend.

Take care,

Need help straight away?

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

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