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What s the best response to help?

(4 Posts)
lottie63 Sun 24-Mar-13 22:53:23

Cross-posted from 'Relationships'

An ex-colleague has just sent me an email saying his life's not worth living. He had trouble at work and was placed on long-term sick leave. He sounds so low and is talking about he doesn't think he 'will make it'. He has a dw who gave birth 10 weeks ago. I have no idea what will help him most. I'm sure he will be under a doctor already (deemed to have had a breakdown). He sounds so lost. His email was a response to a 'Thinking of You' card that I sent a few weeks ago, saying I hoped he was okay. He sounds in a really bad wayhmm

apatchylass Sun 24-Mar-13 23:11:58

Hi Lottie,

How lovely of you to come on here and ask.

Get back in touch straightaway and thank him for confiding in you and explaining how he feels. Ask him not to act on his feelings right now and not to make any decisions right now as he's too ill to guarantee they are the right ones.

You could remind him that he has a severe illness and just as with other illnesses he has the right to get help for it. He may be glad to be reminded that there's no more stigma to this illness than there is to any with more physical symptoms. It's like diabetes. it needs treating before he will begin to feel right again.

Comfort him that he will feel better again, that there are plenty of cures and support on offer, and that he must go to the GP and be entirely honest and very direct about how ill he has become,

He's so lucky to have you thinking of him. You could make a massive difference.

apatchylass Sun 24-Mar-13 23:14:46

Didn't say, but these are techniques I picked up over about 15 years of having a very close friend who was frequently suicidal. i asked her when she was well what comments helped make a difference and she told me it was this sort of reassurance that she is ill now, and that she can get well with help, that kept her hanging on.

lottie63 Mon 25-Mar-13 06:21:19

Thanks aPatchy. I've never had to deal with this sort of thing before. I don't want to say anything that would make him feel worse. I'm not skilled in counselling or anything like that. He sounded so desperately unhappy. The organisation he and I have worked for have banned him from the premises and I think have said he shouldn't contact anyone from work. I don't know the full story but I sent a card as a friend, not as a work colleague. I suspect, in a desperate state, he'd rattled off rather alot of emails to colleagues that made them feel uncomfortable and management got to know, and issued the ban. Like I say, I don't know the whole story but I don't feel that I can just let him sink. He's a human being and I can't imagine being isolated like that would help. At least I don't think it would. I'd feel utterly bereft and hurt to feel no-one gave a toss.

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