It’s important to realize that your friend needs help beyond what you can provide. Strongly encourage them to consult a mental health professional. Contact the school guidance counselor and ask for their help. They will know what to do.
If that is not an option, then speak to a trusted adult, perhaps even your parents, about getting help. You may not have to reveal the homicidal ideation, but try to say enough to get your point across. You could mention the panic attacks and extreme anxiety.
It’s not clear why some people have homicidal thoughts. It could be a maladaptive coping skill. Some people are struggling with emotional problems. The homicidal thoughts might be a response to the frustration of experiencing strong, unpleasant emotions. It’s also probably linked to their anxiety.
There are many potential theories, but even if you knew why your friend had homicidal thoughts it would not help very much. Knowing why is interesting, but it doesn’t solve the problem.
The bottom line is that your friend needs help. These symptoms are highly treatable by mental health professionals. Do your best to encourage them to seek help. Don’t hesitate to call the authorities if you believe that they are a danger to themselves or to others. Understandably, you don’t want to upset your friend by revealing information that was shared in confidence, but it is far better to act before something bad happens. Please write again if you have additional questions.
Dr. Kristina Randle