Ask the Doctor: Concerned when a friend does not reply?

A questioner asked what to do when a friend who lives in another town who she suspects is having emotional difficulties, and who has attempted suicide in the past, doesn’t answer phone calls, e-mails, or other attempts at communication.

The first thing to do is to try to establish communication with your friend. It sounds as though you have already done this, but what might help is for you to send e-mails and voicemail messages telling her that you are very concerned and worried about her, that it frightens you to not hear from her, and that you beg her to at least send an e-mail or preferably call you to let you know how she is doing.

A second suggestion: If you ever believe there is a clear emergency, call the police in the local area where your friend lives and give them all the information you have, and they can try to help your friend or make sure she is OK.

Posted in Ask the Doctor Q&A.