Friend Problems: Helping a friend
Are you worried about a friend who isn't eating? A friend who is smoking or drinking? Or maybe a friend who is having trouble at home? You can listen and give advice, but your friend's problems may be more than you can handle alone. Don't be afraid to tell a trusted adult, such as a parent/guardian, teacher, or school nurse. Even though your friend may get mad at you for telling an adult, it is the only way to protect your friend's health.
If you think a friend may have an eating disorder, read "How to Help a Friend (PDF 106KB)."
If you have a friend who smokes, help him or her quit. To do this, you first have to know how to praise the good choices and not be too critical of the times when your friend slips. If you spend more time with your friend and you don't smoke, it will be a good influence on him or her. Don't be drawn in to try it, of course. Teenagers are prone to peer pressure and you don't want to get caught in that trap.
If you think a friend may have an alcohol or drug problem, find out how you can help. See this link: The Cool Spot: Alcohol. Don't be afraid to start a conversation with your friend about your concerns. Someone has to talk to them about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. If your suspicions are confirmed, suggest they talk to a counselor or some trustworthy adult who can offer guidance.
If a friend is being abused at home, give him or her the number for the 24-hour Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4-A-CHILD (422-4453). No one should have to deal with being hurt by anyone!
If a friend is being hurt by someone he or she is dating, give your friend the number for the 24-hour National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224 (TDD). This is just not acceptable.
If a friend is talking about suicide, you must tell a trusted adult right away. You can also give your friend the number for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Don't wait to see if things get better. Take action right away.
If a friend is talking about hurting someone else, you must tell a trusted adult right away.
If a friend is in trouble in other ways, the Youth Crisis Hotline at 1-800-HIT-HOME (448-4663) can help.