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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5809
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I have a friend who has had a lot of suicidal ideation over

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I have a friend who has had a lot of suicidal ideation over the three years that I have known him, but has never made any suicide attempts that I am aware of. Recently he's had a lot of setbacks and stress including his upcoming wedding, financial difficulties, getting a DUI at his bachelor party, and then, yesterday, totalling his car on his way home from meeting with his DUI parole officer. He started talking about killing himself again, and this time was talking about getting a gun. He expressed frustration when he read on his probation paperwork that he cannot legally buy a gun. I don't think he has the connections to buy a gun illegally. But, I don't know if any of his family member have guns or if he would otherwise have access to one.
I'm concerned most about the gun idea right now since this is the first time he has ever talked about that. He's always had plans before, like driving up to the mountains, drinking vodka, taking pills, and just going to sleep. Occasionally, he would talk about slitting his wrists, but usually not since he didn't want to put anyone through the difficulty of cleaning it up. But the gun thing is new. And since I've known him, he's never been under as much stress as he is now.
His fiancee has her PhD is psychology and is a licensed therapist, but I don't know if he shares any of this with her. I'm under the impression that he is very good at pretending that everything is okay.
I don't know how to approach him to get some help, or if I should skip approaching him and just get the authorities involved. The times in the past when I have suggested that he talk to a professional about the suicidal thoughts, he has cut me out of his life for months at a time. I'm to a point where I'm not concerned about getting cut out of his life, I would just like him to be happy and no longer so unable to cope. The other part is, I don't want to be the person who gets the distraught texts or phone calls anymore. It stresses me out. I really don't know what to do, or what is best for him or for me.
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.
There are two possibilities here. One, your friend has a personality disorder such as Borderline where the person is attention seeking all the time. Often a person with Borderline disorder will do anything to get attention, even threaten suicide. And your friend's willingness to shut you out of his life when you did share his suicidal thoughts with others also fits the borderline profile.
Another possibility is that your friend is really suicidal and is just working up the courage to hurt himself.
No matter which issue your friend has, you don't want to be the one to carry the burden if he does decide to follow through. At this point, you certainly have enough to file a 302. And your willingness to put your own need to be his friend aside in order to get him help and for his safety is admirable.
To file a 302, which is an legal document ordering an involuntary commitment for inpatient mental health treatment, you can contact your local ER. They will provide instructions on how to file the 302 and either have you transport your friend to the ER for an evaluation, or they will send the police to escort him if he is not willing to go. The person seeing the behavior must be the one to file so that would be you. Your friend would be committed for a period of time, usually 72 hours then his case would be re evaluated by the doctors and courts. They can either keep him for a longer time or release him for follow up with a local treatment center.
Here are some other resources to help you with ideas on how to help your friend:
I Am Not Sick I Don't Need Help: How to Help Someone with Mental Illness Accept Treatment-Xavier Amador.
Another option is to see if your friend is willing to see his doctor. If so, then you can contact the doctor ahead of time and let them know what you are seeing with your friend's behavior. The doctor is a mandatory reporter which means if he/she hears your friend's suicidal threats, they can admit him immediately.
I hope this has helped you,
TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Thank you so much for the positive rating and bonus! I appreciate it.
My best to you and your friend,