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Grab the Meic: Helping a Friend Who’s Really Struggling

Freya is desperately worried about her friend who’s struggling with an eating disorder and suicidal thoughts. She contacted Meic for help as she didn’t know what to do. Here’s our advice.

Grab the Meic is your opportunity to ask us about anything that’s worrying you. We’re here to listen and give advice. If you want to #grabthemeic then check out this page, but remember this advice is not instant. If you need advice quickly then please contact the helpline.

This article is also available in Welsh – I ddarllen y cynnwys yma yn Gymraeg – clicia yma

Hi Meic,

My friend of nearly a year has messaged me saying that she’s struggling with eating and has been thinking about suicide. We’re both chronically ill and her health has gotten pretty bad recently and I think that’s a big part of this. She says what she eats is the one thing in her life she can control right now. The issue is, I don’t know what to do. I’m talking to her and supporting her, but I think she needs more than what I can provide as a long-distance friend. We don’t live in the same country so I don’t know what I can do to help.

Freya (*name changed to protect their identity)

Hi Freya,

Thank you for contacting us through Grab the Meic.  I’m sorry to hear that your friend is struggling and thinking about suicide, and that you are both chronically ill.   

I can see from what you’ve written that you’re very worried about your friend’s well-being and would like some information and advice on what further support she could access. You said that your friend lives in another country.

Suicidal thoughts

Even though your friend lives somewhere else our advisers at Meic will be happy to try and find information about possible sources of support in their country. You could then pass this on to your friend. But we’ll need to know where she lives. You can contact us by text, phone, or online chat to talk to us further about this.

You might still find that the information provided by some of these services is useful, even if they are UK services:

Papyrus is a suicide prevention charity for young people, and they have a helpline called Hopeline UK on 0800 068 41 41 where you can get confidential support and advice if you’re experiencing thoughts of suicide or if you’re worried that a young person is thinking of suicide.

Young Minds have a page looking at suicidal feelings with advice on what to do about it and ways to get help. They also have information specifically on how to support a friend who is feeling suicidal.

sad teenager girl with scale on wooden floor for suicidal article

Eating disorder

You mentioned that your friend’s difficulties with food are tied into the fact that she wants some control in her life because of her illness. This is often a feature of eating disorders. BEAT is a charity and helpline that specialise in eating disorders. They have lots of useful information including this page on how to support someone with an eating disorder.

In an emergency

If you have any reason to believe that your friend plans to attempt suicide you might want to try contacting someone in her family (if you know them) or the emergency services where she lives.

This is all a lot for you to cope with on your own and we would encourage you to contact us by phone, text, or online chat so we can speak to you in real time and get a better understanding of your friend’s needs, as well as your own. Contact us on the details below. Meic is confidential and free to contact.

Thanks for getting in touch

The Meic Team.