Will It Be My Fault If My Anorexic Friend Kills Herself?

Published: December 04, 2013
Dear Will It Be My Fault If My Anorexic Friend Kills Herself?,

my friend is anorexic ,self harms and im afraid she wants to kill herself. She has cuts and scars everywhere on her thighs and wrists. she has lost at least 20 lbs from starving herself. she posted a photo on instagram saying 'don't you get it? I want to die'. it scares me a lot and I always try to talk to her but her home life of an spineless mother and abusive step father hurts her a lot. she talks to the school councillor but lies to her about all her cutting. im so scared she's goanna kill herself and it will be my fault!? please I need advise

Dear Will It Be My Fault If My Anorexic Friend Kills Herself?,

TeenHealthFX can appreciate that you are concerned about your friend between her self-harming behavior, the comment on her Instagram photo and her significant weight loss. If she is in a home environment with an abusive step-father and a mother who is not able to protect her, than FX can appreciate that this would significantly impact her mood and behavior in a negative way.

FX thinks that it is important for you to talk to an adult about your concerns. You could speak to your parents or you could speak to the counselor at school who your friend meets with. It is important to let someone know about her weight loss, the message on her photo, the self-harming behaviors, and that she is living with an abusive step-father. Depending on what is going on at home it might be necessary for child protective services to be called. It also sounds like your friend is in need of more intensive mental health services that just meeting with the school counselor. But these are things that adults need to take care of – such as a guidance counselor at school, the school social worker or school psychologist.

You can certainly tell your friend that you plan on speaking to someone about your concerns. She might get angry with you, but it’s important for her to know that you are not going to stand by and do nothing when you see her struggling so much.

If you have concerns about going directly to someone at school, then you can also call The Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-792-8610 for some guidance on what to do about this situation given the abusive step-father. This hotline is to report physical or sexual abuse for people living in or outside of New Jersey, and is available 24 hours a day, 7days a week.

If you ever have concerns about your friend’s immediate safety in terms of having reason to believe she has intent and plan to kill herself, then FX recommends you call 911 right away.

TeenHealthFX would like to stress that the most you can do for your friend to let her know that you are there for her and to tell trusted adults about your concerns so that they can intervene on her behalf. But it is important to know that there is only so much in  your power and control and if your friend harms herself in any way it is not your fault.