(15 year old female) For as long as I can remember, my best friend has been depressed. She has a history of self-harm, however, the school guidance counselor and her parents know about it. She recently attempted to take her life more than once. She told me about it and said not to tell anyone because her parents didn’t know. I know she needs help so I told the school guidance counselor and the Crisis Center, both of which got involved and talked to her. She lied to them though so they’ve now dropped the subject and act like it never happened. I don’t want to wake up one day and her not be there, are there any other agencies or help centers that I can contact for someone under the age of 18? Please help!

A: I’m so glad that you wrote in for help, support, and resources to help your friend. Did the school guidance counselor and crisis center counselor contact your friend’s parents? If not, I suggest that you go to the counselor directly, tell them exactly what your friend told you about her depression and suicide attempts, and ask them to contact your friend’s parents so they can be aware of the situation. From what you’ve described, your friend needs treatment immediately and her parents are the one who can get her a psychiatric evaluation and treatment.

While your friend asked you not to tell anyone, this is a situation that is serious enough that it warrants breaking her trust for her own safety and protection. I’m guessing that, as a 15-year-old, it’s difficult for you to know what to do with this kind of heavy information. I encourage you to talk to your parent/guardian about your friend’s depression, and how scared you are that one day she may not be here one day so you aren’t carrying her burden. Your parents can help you and can contact your friend’s parents about your concerns.

Take good care of yourself!

Warmly,

Julie Hanks, LCSW

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 15 Jan 2012

APA Reference
Hanks, J. (2012). My Best Friend Is Depressed and Suicidal. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 31, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/01/15/my-best-friend-is-depressed-and-suicidal/