What Would You Do: Suicidal Acquaintance

A friend of mine is suicidal again. Well, she’s not really my friend, per se. She’s more of an acquaintance who calls me to ask for things including money. I haven’t given her money in 8 years, but she still asks for my help. She wants help with an animal, help when her ex left, help getting groceries, the list goes on. I helped her board up a window once since she doesn’t know how to operate a drill or electric driver. She is the neediest people I have ever met and I think she thrives on neediness.

Her “fiance”, whom she has been dating for a month, left her. Now she wants to kill herself and “has a plan”. She threatens to commit suicide…and “has a plan”…with remarkable regularity. I took her seriously the first 6 threats of suicide. Now, after suicide threats too numerable to count, I think she might be threatening suicide for attention. My friendship is not enough attention. Lending her a patient ear and talking to her on IM at all hours of the day and night is not enough attention. Persuading her fiance to move in with her and propose to her after less than a month of dating is not enough attention. Nothing fills her endless cavernous need for attention.

Do I take her 10th…15th…20th…threat of suicide seriously? Do I distance myself from her? Do I tell her to knock it off? Tonight is a school night. I’m trying to, cook dinner, organize the kids’ papers, lunches, etc for school and get them to bed at a reasonable time. I really do not have time to drive well over an hour to help someone who I simply cannot help. (And it’s not like I haven’t tried and tried and TRIED to help). Yet, at the same time, I’m worried she will act on her “plan”. She has attempted suicide several times per her own admission, but I’m not even sure her “admissions” are truthful or if her “admissions” are another way to garner attention.

What would you do?

8 thoughts on “What Would You Do: Suicidal Acquaintance

  1. Persuade her HARD to seek professional help. Giver the crisis line number. Tell her gently, but bluntly that while she is valuable to this world, and is your friend (don’t mention she’s not really a friend), that you are not equipped to giver her the help she so desperately needs. Let her know that you will continue to emotionally support her through the work she does on herself provided she actually does the work. Even if she is just looking for attention now, if she stops getting it, that might tip her over the edge. But let her know your limitations as gently as possible and recommend someone who is trained to help people get out of the situation she’s in.

    1. She IS seeking professional help. She has a therapist, is taking psych meds, and spent several weeks at various points in a psych hospital. She has the crisis line number. I’ve given it to her and so have a number of other friends.

      Although I live quite far (about 1hr) away from her, she has given her long distance friends my contact information and they ask me (read: beg me) to check on her all the time.

      It’s just…over the top.

      1. Well then you need to tell her friends that you have done all you can for her, and that you are no more equipped to deal with her issues than they are. If the therapist can’t help, then you certainly shouldn’t be expected to be able to. You can be a listening ear, you can tell her to call someone about the suicidal threats, but that you can’t deal with them. You’ll listen and be her friend about other things, but you won’t listen to the threats anymore because those are too serious for a friendship level.

  2. I would distance myself. I would tell her that you understand how she feels, and that you are concerned so you are going to let the police/ mental health services deal with her situation because you do not feel safe or comfortable handling it anymore.

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