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by Abigail Van Buren

Talk of Suicide Threatens Both Mom to Be and Baby

DEAR ABBY: A woman I work with is pregnant. While this may seem like exciting news, it is the opposite. She is already depressed and often talks about suicide.

My real concern is for her baby. She often says how, if she has a girl, she'll drown it, suffocate it, etc. She says it openly. Everyone in the office has heard her make these statements.

The baby's father is an alcoholic, and he is the one who wants the kid -- not her. She already has an older child she has nothing to do with.

I feel something should be done to keep her baby from being harmed, but what can I do? Can Child Protective Services be of any help when it comes to an unborn baby? Or should we co-workers speak up and ask her to seek help? -- WORRIED IN ILLINOIS

DEAR WORRIED: Of course you should speak up! Hormones have a lot to do with the way people think and react -- as anyone knows who has had anything to do with women who suffer from PMS. Your co-worker should be urged to level with her OB/GYN about the feelings she is experiencing.

I discussed your letter with Child Protective Services and was informed that no intervention can be done until a baby is actually born. However, when your co-worker goes to the hospital to have her child, you should notify the hospital officials because, if necessary, an intervention can be done, and CPS can become involved when she delivers.

It goes without saying that when anyone talks about suicide, that person should be advised to discuss their feelings with a counselor at one of the suicide prevention hotlines. Both numbers are toll-free: (800) 784-2433 and (800) 273-8255.