#MHAW17 – Aunty Sprout: How Do I Help My Self-Harming Friend?

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Brain for Aunty Sprout Mental health Self-Harm

I suffer with mental health issues. However, when a friend starts messaging me about how they wanna hurt/kill themselves, I always feel I’m saying the wrong things.

I know the most important thing to listen but its hard to show them I’m listening when its usually via text or social media. I don’t think it’s an effective way to help someone by phone or social media, but I hate bringing it up in person.

Everything comes up wordvomit, I recommend therapy/medication but my friend won’t even admit it’s a mental health issue. How can I help my friend?

If you have any advice to offer, please leave your comments below (it’s free and quick to comment but we recommend keeping posts Sprouty and anonymous!).

TheSprout has teamed up with Meic – the national information, advice and advocacy helpline for children and young people in Wales – which has posted as Aunty Sprout below!

Meic logo for Info section

Aunty Sprout’s response


It sounds like you are going through a very difficult time at the moment, with the combination of managing your own mental health, and that of your friend’s. If we are struggling with your own mental health, it can sometimes be very challenging supporting another person, who is in the same position.

So I would suggest firstly that you consider concentrating on your own mental health, and ensuring you are in a good position mentally, so that you are able to support your that person.

I can hear that you are concerned about broaching the subject with the other person, and that you think you may say the wrong thing. You may find the following tips useful, which has been taken from a website called The Mix, which provides advice and articles on issues affecting young people. This article provides practical support to help a person who is having suicidal thoughts:

How can I help my suicidal friend?

Social media and less direct communication methods can actually be very useful way of talking to someone about mental health issues. It is often seen as a less intrusive way of opening up about your problems, and there are several organisations who provide a service similar to Meic, where you can use text, instant message and email.

I can appreciate that you want to talk to your friend about their problems yourself. However, by taking away this pressure yourself, and finding someone who is trained in the subject, you may find that you get far better results. Here are some organisations, which you can suggest to your friend:


Elefriends is a supportive online community where you can be yourself, be listened to and heard.


Papyrus supports young people who are feeling suicidal, and you can call, email or text them.

Call – 0800 068 41 41
Text – 07786209697
Email – pat@papyrus-uk.org

Heads Above The Waves

Heads Above The Waves is a Cardiff-based non-profit that supports young people who self-harm through creative outlets.

Twitter: @HATW_UK
Contact page: hatw.co.uk/contact-us/

I hope these tips are useful, and that you are able to help your friend, and at the same time help yourself.

If you wish to discuss further with an Adviser here at Meic, you can do so via the following options:

Call – 080880 23456
Text – 84001
Instant Message

If you have a problem or question that you would like some advice on, why not share it with TheSprout communityHere’s what’s been asked before on the new Sprout and here’s the Aunty Sprout archive on the old site.

Your entry will be posted anonymously, as we’ll change the name on it. Also, remember to have a look at the Info section. You can of course always contact Meic directly – www.meic.cymru.

Mental Health

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