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Getting help for a friend

So we’ve been receiving some submissions lately from young people about not knowing how to help a friend during a tough time.  This can be very scary, especially if you’re worried that your friend might harm him or herself or attempt suicide. 

A great place to start helping your friend is the My Friend Needs Help section. If you think your friend could be in immediate danger, take a look at the My Friend Needs Help NOW page. You may need to call 911 if it’s an emergency or to get your friend to a hospital.

If you’re worried about your friend getting mad at you, especially if your friend is telling you NOT to call for help or threatening to end your friendship if you do, it’s important to remember that: a) your friend is likely not thinking clearly and b) that it’s better to have a friend that’s alive and maybe mad at you instead of a dead friend.  

I have been in this situation and have had to call 911 to ensure the safety of a friend. He was in a crisis, experiencing a manic episode (see info on mania and bipolar disorder here) was harming himself and was threatening to continue harming himself. It was in fact an easy decision to make, to call for help for him, because not only was he a danger to himself at the time, but also because I knew he had self-harmed and attempted suicide in the past. He was very angry and didn’t speak to me for months, but later thanked me and said I had done the right thing and that he appreciated it. He was grateful I had reached out for help for him when he couldn’t think clearly for himself.

If you’re not sure if you should call 911, you can call a crisis line for advice. Go to our Where to Call page for ways to find listings in your local area or chat online with a mental health and referral specialist.

Don’t forget to look at the My Friend Needs Help NOW page for more info.

“Each friend represents a world in us, a world not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born” – Anais Nin