Alex's Answer

My friend is having suicidal thoughts

Your Question

Hi this question is important. My classmate be having suicidal thoughts and he shows strong signs of body dysphoria and a eating disorder. When we were on a school trip he was in the toilet getting changed and I was stood waiting for my friend and I heard him gagging and he ate scraps as well. I saw white scars on his armm but when he saw me looking he got scared and pulled down his sleeve


Hi there, welcome to Ask Alex,

You have been very brave reaching out to us about your friend. It sounds like you are very worried and really want to help him. It can be very difficult and scary seeing a friend struggle like this.   

It sounds like you have some awareness of what an eating disorder is but just to be sure the term ‘eating disorder’ refers to a complex, potentially life-threatening condition, characterised by severe disturbances in eating behaviours. Would we be right in saying that you would like to bring this up with your friend? If so, the most important step you can take to support them is to accept them as they are now.

It is also important that you show your friend how willing you are to be there for them and that you are not trying to fix them, convince them to act differently or stop what they are doing right away. It is understandable that you are finding it hard to have this chat with your friend, it is a very sensitive subject however by asking your friend about how they are feeling you are showing them that you care and that there is support for them.  

Bodywhys is an organisation that helps and supports those who have eating disorders and their website – has lots of information and support details for your friend but also for friends like yourself supporting a sufferer.  

It is also very important to have some support for you yourself while you support your friend. Do you have someone who can offer you support? A parent or teacher for example, somebody who can check in to see how you are doing or who can help you to help your friend.

Remember ISPCC Childline is always on the other end of the phone, you can call for free on 1800 66 66 66 or chat online at Childline is a listening service, where we won’t tell you what to do however we will chat about your situation and help you come to the best solution for you.  

Well done on being a caring friend. Know that you don’t have to go through this on your own, support is available for you both,


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