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Friend Confides Suicide Plans

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q: My friend confided in me that she wants to commit suicide. What's more, she wants me, as a friend, to "go with her." She even has everything planned out. I tried reasoning with her but she will not listen and I am at a loss for what to do next. I really care about my friend and want to help her.

A: Your friend's planning how she will commit suicide and asking you to "go with her" is more than cause for you to tell her parents/guardians immediately about her plans to kill herself. Her telling you of her suicide plans needs to be interpreted as her unconsciously wanting you to stop her. If you cannot handle telling her parents on your own, please enlist the help of your parents or another adult you trust. You are not betraying her or your friendship by getting her help. I never take words like hers lightly or write them off as someone being overly dramatic or trying to get attention.

Your friend has placed a huge burden on you by telling you of her suicide plans and asking you to join her. I am so sorry that you have to shoulder this horrible fear. Your parents or another adult should take appropriate action on your friend's behalf as soon as possible. Please write me back to report on what happens. I will hold a good thought for her -- and you. You are more of a cherished friend than this girl could ever imagine at this desperate point in her life.

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Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.


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