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My Friend is Anoriexic and Suicidal - What Do I Do?

Published: October 11, 2016
Dear TeenHealthFX,
Hi I don't know what to do my friend is suicidal and has really bad anorexia and needs help. She has gone to the conselor and she told other people and didn't help at all. They haven't done anything to help her and the teacher told her parents. But my friend's parents don't care, they abuse her and don't let her go to the doctor and anything like that etc. I don't know what to do, if a teacher finds out her parents will find out and kill her. If her parents get reported she has no family or anyone to go to and will be put into foster care and kicked out of school. I don't know what to do.
Signed: My Friend is Anorexic and Suicidal - What Do I Do?

Dear My Friend is Anorexic and Suicidal - What Do I Do?,

TeenHealthFX can appreciate how scary and confusing this kind of situation can be. This is partly because situations involving abuse in the home may not have any kind of ideal solution. For a child to stay in an abusive home where they are in danger is obviously problematic. However, children who are removed from their abusive homes will also have some difficult things to deal with. What FX wants to stress to you is that your friend’s safety and well-being are the most important things right now, and whatever keeps her the safest and is best for her emotionally in the short- and long-term given the circumstances is what needs to be done.

If your friend is in an abusive home and is not getting the medical and mental health treatment she needs, then it is important for child protective services to assess the situation to see what your friend needs. Child protective services may need to remove your friend from her home, but that is definitely not an automatic. The fact is that these agencies would like to find solutions that allow children to stay with their parents. There are many times that child protective services does not remove the child, but rather mandates certain things such as medical and/or mental health treatment for the child and parents where a case manager stays involved to ensure things are progressing in a positive way.

Since talking to a counselor did not seem to help the situation, FX recommends that your friend contact a hotline where she can explain the situation in detail and get some recommendations on what to do. If she is concerned about using her own phone because her parents check her phone, she could always use your phone to call or text a crisis hotline. She could try the following hotlines and websites:

  • She could contact Teen Line at 1-800-TLC-TEEN (1-800-852-8336) or text TEEN to 839863. Click here to find out what to expect when you call Teen Line.
  • Since this is a situation where you say there is abuse occurring in the home, she can call safehorizon at 1-800-621-HOPE (4673).
  • She can click here to obtain the state child abuse and neglect reporting website and number. These are specific agencies designated to receive and investigate reports of suspected child abuse and neglect.


Please let your friend know that if she gets to the point that she is seriously considering suicide or are afraid of her impulses then she needs to seek help immediately. She can call 911 or go to her nearest hospital emergency room. In northern New Jersey she can also call the crisis hotline from Morristown Memorial hospital at 973-540-0100. Outside this area call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433), available 24 hours a day, or the Suicide & Crisis Hotline, 1-800-999-9999, 24 hours, 7 days a week.

If your friend does not want to reach out to any of the above hotlines for some support and guidance as to what to do, then it is important for you to reach out to a trusted adult so you can get the support and guidance that you need. You could speak to a parent, a school staff member or even call one of the hotlines above. There are people who can and will want to be helpful to you and your friend. If the first people you tell are not helpful, then please keep reaching out until you find someone who can intervene on your friend’s behalf to ensure her safety and well-being.

Signed: TeenHealthFX