Question #3

**See Disclaimer Below

Question: What if my friend refuses help?

Answer: It's very difficult to watch someone you love reject the help they so desperately need.  If you're in that situation right now, I'm really sorry.  Unfortunately, it may take time before a person realizes they need help, and even longer before they're willing to accept it.  Admitting that you're dealing with a mental health challenge is hard enough, never mind realizing that you can't handle it on your own.  I am speaking to you as both the person who has watched a loved one self-destruct, and as the person who has refused a genuine offer of help.  Based on my experience, what your friend needs most right now is your continual presence and unwavering support.  Though it's difficult to let go of the responsibility you feel for your friend, it's important to remember that your job is not to save them.  Your job is first to love them, and then to be there to support them when they're ready to accept help.  And when they're ready, you can be ready too!  Use the helpful resource from Just Tell One below to prepare yourself if and when your friend reaches out to you for help:

Note: If your friend is in danger of harming themselves or someone else, you do need to take action!  Please refer to my earlier post for helpful tips on what to do if your friend is experiencing suicidal thoughts.  When in doubt, call 911.

**Disclaimer: The following question was submitted to me by a student following a presentation I gave on depression and anxiety in youth.  The answer I provide is based on my personal experiences and professional knowledge as a Youth Peer Advocate.  However, this advice is not intended to replace the guidance of a mental health professional (ex. psychiatrist, psychologist, etc.)  Remember...if you or a friend is in immediate danger, call 911.