DR. WALLACE: My best friend has been depressed ever since her boyfriend was killed in an automobile accident. All my friend ever seems to say now is that she wants to die so she can be with her loving boyfriend.
I'm really worried about her. I've talked with her mom (her dad passed away a few years ago), and she thinks her daughter will snap out of it and doesn't see any signs that she's suicidal.
When someone says that they want to die so they can join a loved one, doesn't that give an indication that suicide is possible? Please tell me what the signs are for a teen to commit suicide. I want my friend's mom to read them. I don't want to lose my best friend. — Anonymous, Indianapolis
ANONYMOUS: Every suicide threat should be taken seriously.
You are a wonderful friend to that young lady who is talking about ending her life. With your love and friendship, I feel positive you will be successful in having this best friend forever — provided you get her help right away. You indeed are this young lady's best friend and I commend you on your concern for her. Now elevate that concern into immediate action to get your friend the help she obviously needs right away. Don't stop until a trusted adult has entered the picture to help your friend with her situation.
SUICIDE WARNING SIGNS
1. A previous suicide attempt. (Many people will try again.)
2. Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.
3. Preoccupation with death.
4. Anxiety and tension.
5. Alcohol and/or drug abuse.
6. Withdrawing from family and friends.
7. Purchase of a weapon, rope, pills or any other suspicious item.
8. Giving away prized possessions.
9. Abrupt changes in behavior.
10. Changes in sleeping patterns and/or eating habits.
11. Verbal threats such as, "You'd be better off without me" or "I wish I were dead."
1. Use the suicide hotline. Since there are too many to list here, check the phone book under crisis, counseling, mental health or suicide prevention, or look in the front pages under these listings.
2. Contact a family doctor, teacher, school counselor, clergy person, coach or any other adult you respect. At the very least, try to tell a friend and ask him for her for help.
3. Go to a hospital. Many emergency rooms are still open seven days a week, 24 hours a day.
4. Dial the police emergency number — usually 911.
IMPORTANT: Don't give up if you get a busy signal, especially on the hotline. Try again and try the other options above. Above all, take immediate action.
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.