Old friend in trouble


I have an old friend from childhood that I’ve stayed in contact with throughout the years. We are both in our 40’s. When he was young his family was very rich. Long story short today he lives in an old trailer. He has been blessed with many gifts but I feel he has fallen into a great depression. He has made many mistakes in his life, multiple marriages and heavy drinking. He has got to the point where he doesn’t want to get out of bed. He is on anti depressents and has stopped drinking. I don’t live close to him so I can’t check in on him. He calls me often and I’m supportive but it is always the same that he just can’t go anymore. What the heck do you do? I’ve tried to steer him back to his Catholic faith that he was raised in but he doesn’t subscribe to organized religion but he does believe in Jesus Christ. I’m starting to think that being supportive and listening is the wrong way to go. It’s not working. Maybe I should simply tell him the truth and try to jump start him? I will not abandon him like all his other friends but it is getting really frustrating trying to help someone that doesn’t want the help and would rather give up.


If he doesn’t want to get out of bed and talks about suicide it’s not something you can “jump start him” from. He probably needs to take more medication/different medication/additional medication.


What he needs is immediate help. From a professional.


Call are report that he's contemplating suicide.

They'll take him and put him in a institution for mental evaluation.


It sounds to me like he may be actually making progress since he has stopped drinking and is taking his anti-depressants. I know you can’t diagnose his depression, but maybe since he has confided in you about taking anti-depressants, you could put a bug in his ear to be sure he is on the correct anti-depressants.

Improvement to his mental state won’t happen overnight. Once it is clear his mental state is improving, he could possibly open himself up to his faith once again.

Best wishes to your friend and you.


I appreciate all of you guys input. He is not suicidal or at least I don’t think he would be the type. He is still very spiritual. He has an advance degree and could be in a lucrative profession but he is rotting away in a terrible roach infested apartment. Brought him to my home for a while to look for a job in my city but he never left my house. He still has a little money. I guess he is going to have to hit rock bottom before he sees the light? You can’t help someone doesn’t want to work!? I do believe without a doubt he is depressed. He doesn’t have the money or insurance to get the help he needs. I’m not rich and I’m still raising my family and have been happily married for 14 years. Do really no what to do. Stay the good old friend supporting him and giving him an ear while he spins his wheels, be like a stern friend that tells him things he may not want to hear or simply abandon him like everyone else?


It’s not easy to make the right call. Jesus always pointed to love as the bottom-line position.
Whether tough love or welcoming love, a hard decision, but I have seen a relative try “tough love” on his brother who was deeply depressed due alcoholism and to loss of family. It only made the brother miserable, and himself utterly so, when his brother died shortly after in a single car accident.

You can’t control the situation, but you can pray, and let continue to let your friend know he matters. If this is done by more decisive words and actions…may God guide you…so long as your friend knows it comes from unshakeable caring. Although the brother remained damaged by alcoholism and loss, he did return to the Church after nearly 30 years, a month before his sudden death.

But I do know something of the helplessness and distress your friend’s situation causes you.
Others have advised you to persuade your friend to seek help, a suggestion that depressed persons do not always welcome. If so, offer that horrible human suffering, helplessness to help another person, to God in prayer for him.

Isaiah says, “I was thinking: ‘I have toiled in vain, I have exhausted myself for nothing.’ And all the while my cause was with God, my reward with my God.” [Isaiah 49:3-4] For “the Lord is not being slow to carry out His promises…but He is being patient with you all, wanting nobody to be lost and everybody to be brought to change his ways.” [2 Peter 3:9]


It sounds like he is suffering from some kind of mental illness, such as severe depression or something else. He needs more help than you can provide. The best thing you can do for him is contact a social services agency and get him some counseling.


I second this. Get him help 5 minutes ago!


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.