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by Abigail Van Buren

Best Friend Calls the Police After Man Threatens Suicide

DEAR ABBY: I am a woman in my late 30s. "Tim" and I have been best friends for more than 10 years. Over the last few years, he has struggled with depression and addiction, and I have done my best to help him.

A few weeks back, Tim called me crying and said he was planning to end his life. It wasn't the first time he has spoken this way, but it was the first time he described a plan of action. Because I was alarmed, I called the police to do a welfare check. They went to Tim's home, which is across the country from mine, and took him to a psychiatric facility for several days. Now that he's out, he's furious with me for notifying the police and says I betrayed him. He said he doesn't know if we can continue to be friends.

I feel terrible, like I perhaps made a mistake by calling reinforcements, but I was more worried about the consequences of not calling. My family is telling me I should step away from the friendship altogether, but I can't imagine doing that. Please help. -- TAKES FRIENDSHIP SERIOUSLY

DEAR TAKES: Your family's advice to step away seems sensible. You did NOT make a mistake by calling to see that Tim got help after he told you he had a plan in place to take his own life. You were trying to help him and prevent a tragedy, and that's a good thing.

Tim is clearly very ill and, unfortunately, there is little you can do to fix what's wrong with him (which is plenty). If you know his family, inform them about what has been going on. And because he doesn't know if he can continue being friends with you, leave it up to him to decide.

Read more in: Friends & Neighbors | Mental Health | Addiction