I’ve already tried to contact my local crisis center for my best friend, but it isn’t working out. My best friend hasn’t been diagnosed with depression, but I think she is severely depressed. I contacted the crisis center, and they had a meeting with her in school, but she lied with a lot of her answers. She’s suicidal, and needs help, and I don’t know what else I can do. My other two friends are also depressed (diagnosed), so they don’t really have the mental capacity to help right now. I feel like I’m in this by myself, and it’s ruining me. I’m struggling now, too. Its all become more stressful and I’ve started cutting. My question is, how can I get her effective help? I’ve told her that she needs this, but she just won’t listen to me. I know that once she gets better, I’ll feel relieved and won’t be so stressed or anxious about all of this, and hopefully get better along with her.

A. Your friend is fortunate to have someone who cares so deeply about her well-being but there is a limit as to how much help you can provide. Generally, individuals have to want help and you cannot force them into treatment if they don’t want treatment.

An additional concern is that the stress associated with this problem has led you to engage in self-harming behavior. Your mental well-being is being compromised. You are attempting to help your friend at the expense of yourself. That is not a healthy nor sustainable approach. It can quickly lead to emotional burnout.

I would strongly suggest that you speak to both her parents and to your parents about this problem. You should not be dealing with this problem alone and without their assistance. In addition, speak to your school counselor. The school counselor can assist your friend and give you advice.

It might also be helpful for you speak to a mental health professional about your cutting behavior. A mental health professional could teach you other modalities of stress relief that are not dangerous. In addition, a mental health professional could assist you in handling the complex emotions associated with a friend in distress. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle