Dear Carol

"Dear Carol, How can I help a friend who is battling really bad depression?"

Dear Carol,

One of my best friends has gotten to the point of considering self-harm. I want to help her but don’t know how. I’m really scared for her. I don’t know what to say or do without breaking my promise that I wouldn’t tell anyone her secret.

- Bestie Worries

Dear Bestie Worries,

Can you encourage her to talk to a parent or counselor or school nurse? You promised not to tell, but there’s a difference between gossiping and trying to save a person’s life. If you’re scared that she’ll hurt herself, confiding in your mom or teacher is not a breach of trust—it’s a brave gesture of compassion and support. You can even tell your friend that it’s because you really care about her that you sought advice on how to help her heal. Don’t forget to tell her what you love and admire about her, too. (Everyone can use some praise, especially in dark moments.)

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or are practicing self-harm, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by visiting their website or by calling 988.

Carol Weston is the author of 16 books including Speed of Life, her novel (and audiobook) about a 14-year-old girl who writes to an advice columnist. Learn more at, and follow her on Instagram @carolwestonnyc.

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We want to hear from you! Go here to submit questions to Carol about every sticky sitch life throws at you.


by GL | 2/20/2024