What Can I Do About My Depressed, Suicidal Friend?

Published: January 26, 2015
Dear What Can I Do About My Depressed, Suicidal Friend?,

So a friend of mine has admitted to me that he is depressed and he has thought about taking his own life he has been to the psych ward before and gotten better for a month or two but then he gets bad again but he also told me his family can't afford help for him I worry about him a lot I've even had to call the suicide hotline because he said he was gonna kill himself is there anything I can do

Dear What Can I Do About My Depressed, Suicidal Friend?,

TeenHealthFX is sorry to hear that your friend is going through such a difficult time. FX can imagine that both of you must be very scared about what is going on with him.

There are plenty of mental health services that are available for free or for sliding scale fees. A lack of financial resources should never stop someone from reaching out for help given that so many communities have a variety of mental health resources available. FX recommends that you encourage your friend to do the following:

  • Talk to his school counselor, such as a school social worker or school psychologist, about what is going on with him. Not only can the school counselor provide support for your friend in school, he/she can also refer him to professional mental health services that would work for him financially.

  • Talk to his parents about his depression and suicidal thoughts. It is important for your friend’s parents to be aware of how he is feeling so they can provide the support and guidance he needs from them. If there are issues in his relationships with his parents, then it is important for your friend to ask his parents to participate in therapy with him.

  • Go to his local emergency room or call 911 if he is ever in a place where he thinks he might attempt suicide or try to harm himself in any way.

If you see that your friend is not making any attempts to reach out for help, then it is important for you to tell a trusted adult who can intervene on your friend’s behalf. You could talk to your parents, your friend’s parents (if you have that kind of relationship with them), or your school counselor. But tell someone so that neither you nor your friend is dealing with this alone.

You can also pass on the following information to your friend:

If you live in northern New Jersey and need help finding a therapist you can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888-247-1400. Outside of this area you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in your area. You can also contact your insurance company to get a list of in-network mental health providers or check with your school social worker or psychologist to get a list of referrals in your area.

If you get to the point that you are seriously considering suicide or are afraid of your impulses then you need to seek help immediately. You can call 911 or go to your nearest hospital emergency room. In northern New Jersey you 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.