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Teenager struggles to help suicidal gay friend

by Phyllis Steinberg
Monday Jul 12, 2010

Dear Phyllis,

We are two gay teens. I'm 15 and Charlie is 16. I'm lucky. My parents know I'm gay and they're really cool about it, but my buddy Charlie is not so lucky. His parents are real mad at him for being gay. They are so mean to him all the time. Charlie says he can't take it any more. He is really scaring me lately. He talks about killing himself. I don't know what to do. Please help.


Dear Mike,

Here's how you can help. Tell a trusted adult. An adult is the best person to handle
the situation. Don't make a deal with Charlie to keep it a secret.

Listen to Charlie. Let him know you understand his feelings and that you care about him. You can talk about suicide with him but don't try to cheer him up or say anything unrealistic. Find out if he has a plan. If he has a plan it means he is more serious about it. Remove anything dangerous from his home like a knife, razor blades, sleeping pills. Get an adult to help you with this. Tell Charlie that depressed feelings do change over time. Remind him that death is final. There is no turning back. Ask your buddy to try to stick it out a little longer. You can try to make a plan with Charlie about how to go forward.

If it looks like suicide is likely to occur at any moment-call 911.

Contact the Trevor Project. They will be able to help you. The Trevor Project has a 24 hour suicide prevention hotline to aid LGBT youth in crisis. The Trevor Project helpline phone number is (866) 4U-TREVOR, or (866) 488-7386. The Trevor Project is online at

Good luck,


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