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How to Help a Friend ...

How to Help a Friend with a Drinking Problem

If you care, show your concern.  Ask if they feel they have a drinking problem.  Avoid blame and lectures.  Leave the judgment out.  Say, "I am concerned about you," or "I feel that your drinking is causing a problem because ______________".  Keep an open mind and end the conversation if you get impatient or angry.  Make it clear that you dislike the behavior not him or her.  If your friend is in denial  about his drinking behavior, you can talk about how the drinking problem affects you.  Some things to ask if your friend agrees they have a drinking problem:

  1. What is it about your drinking that causes you problems?
  2. What do you think you can do about it?
  3. How will you try to change your behavior?
  4. What kinds of support do you need from me?

How to Help a Friend with Eating & Body Image Issues

Learn as much as you can about disordered eating and eating disorders.  Know the difference between facts and myths about nutrition and exercise.  Knowing the facts will help you reason against any inaccurate ideas your friend is using.  Be honest and talk openly about your concerns.  Be caring and firm.  Your friend must be responsible for her actions and their consequences.  Share your memories of two or three specific times when you felt concerned, afraid or uneasy because of her eating rituals.  Talk about the feelings you experienced because of these events.  Say, "I'm concerned about you because you refuse to eat breakfast or lunch".  Or, "I get scared when I hear you vomiting".  Avoid "you" statements as they are accusational.  Say whatever you can to support and encourage self-esteem and self-respect.  Be a good role model.

What to do if You Suspect a Friend is Suicidal

Take it seriously. Seventy percent of all people who complete suicide give some warning.  Be willing to listen.  If you are concerned, say so.  Asking about suicidal thoughts does not cause a person to think about it.  Let the person know you care and understand.  Reassure your friend that he or she is not alone.  Explain that suicidal feelings are temporary and depression can be treated.  Ask if they have a specific plan and how far they have gone to carry it out.  Get other people involved.  Get professional help immediately.  Take your friend to the College's Counseling Center, call Campus Safety at 459-5151 or call 911.  Don't leave the person alone, don't promise confidentiality, and don't assume the situation will take care of itself.