Dear Abby: I’m 13, and I’m writing you about my best friend. Her life at home has always sucked, but now it has reached a new level. Her grandmother is no longer paying for her tuition, her parents verbally abuse her, and yesterday she attempted suicide. Luckily, she called me and I talked her through it.
I don’t know how to help her. I can’t talk to her parents because they’ll be no help, but I don’t know what will happen if I tell my parents. Please help me.
— Needs Answers in California
Dear Needs Answers: You are a caring friend. The one thing you SHOULDN’T do in a misguided effort to “protect” your friend is to remain silent. When someone threatens suicide, it is time to act.
You should absolutely tell your parents everything you know so they can inform her parents. If your parents are hesitant to do that, confide in a trusted teacher or counselor at school so your friend can get the help she appears to desperately need. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s toll-free number is 800-273-8255. Please share it with your friend. But if she tells you again that she has injured herself, call 911.