What can I do to help a friend who has started to self harm? (UK)
My friend and I are both international students. She is from the Middle East. I have been with her for two years now, and after returning from the summer she has seemed like a very different person.
Recently she started taking antidepressants, and the doctors here aren’t very helpful. They just keep telling her to keep taking the same medication, even though she asks to be changed.
She has been smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol throughout the course of her taking the medication. I have told her many times to stop doing that, because I have taken anti depressants before and I know mixing with alcohol, on top of pot, is not a good mix.
Recently she basically dropped off the face of the earth for the past three weeks. She had sent me a few messages, so I did know she was at least alive. Finally today I was able to see her, and have a talk with her. She has not been attending any of her lectures, has not turned in assignments and is now receiving warnings from the University. When I did see her today, to my alarm, her forearm was covered in light cuts. I asked her what happened and she told me she did it with a knife. I asked her why and she told me that she felt numb, and when doing this she felt some emotion, and calm for a moment. All I could do was tell her to stop, and to go see a doctor tomorrow. She said she would, but I have my doubts that she will.
Basically, I don’t know what to do. She is my closest friend. I feel like her depression has gotten worse and worse very quickly. I make it known I am here for her any time of the day, and even gave her my mother’s phone number, who is a nurse, who would be able to talk to her on the surface about any problems she has, without being judgmental. She can’t let her family know any of this. She is Muslim, and her mother is a doctor. She told her mother she was having problems but her mother is in denial, and is telling her she is fine, that her feeling sad was just a phase. My friend talks about being homesick, but the last thing she wants to do is go back home.
I am no medical professional, and I feel like she is beyond any help I can give her. I want to go to someone in the University to alert them that she has problems, but I am not even sure that I can do this, or that they will act on it. I am also worried that she would be angry with me for sharing these problems with someone without telling her. Have any of you ever been in a situation like this? How involved should I even get? I can’t just sit and watch my best friend self destruct.
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