My best friend is a 17 year old girl. For a while she has been depressed and suicidal, she recently developed an eating disorder (bulimia). She will not see a doctor or a therapist because of the fact she feels uncomfortable telling people things. She has had traumatic problems from her child hood that she has never gone into detail about to me. I feel like she needs anti-depressants and she does agree but she refuses to to tel her grandmother, who she lives with, that she needs help because she doesn’t want her to worry. Is there any way she can get anti-depressants without having to tell her grandmother? or having a doctor put her in a mental hospital again?

A. She might be prescribed antidepressants but it would be difficult to keep it from her grandmother. This situation requires more than antidepressant medication. It requires full-scale intervention.

You should encourage your friend to tell her grandmother. Her grandmother should be worried about the fact that she is depressed and suicidal and recently has developed an eating disorder. Those are all very serious conditions which require immediate attention.

The best way to assist your friend is to encourage her to both tell her grandmother and to see a mental health professional. If she refuses to tell her grandmother, then consider doing it for her. She might be upset at you for revealing her secret but sometimes you have to risk displeasing someone you love to protect them from serious harm. Her physical health and her mental health are at stake. All threats of suicide should be taken seriously and emergency help must be provided. Do what is necessary to help your friend. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle