DEAR ABBY: I have known "Charlotte" for 17 years. She was a bridesmaid at my wedding, and we talk and text regularly. I consider her one of my best friends.
Charlotte has had a tough couple years and has sunk into a depression. We live on opposite sides of the country, so I don't see her in person often, but I can hear the change in our phone conversations. She even admits that she's in a depression.
Recently, she told me she feels she no longer has a reason to live and has considered harming herself. Because I live so far away, I couldn't get to her so I could be there for her, but I called a mutual friend ("Sandy") who lives nearby and asked her to check on my friend. Charlotte didn't mention anything to Sandy about the way she was feeling or her thoughts of suicide and pretended like everything was OK.
I know things are not OK, and I'm extremely worried that Charlotte may hurt herself in a moment of despair. She has a therapist she sees on occasion, and I have urged Charlotte to be honest with her about her feelings. Charlotte says she will, but I'm not sure if she actually does.
How do I help her? Should I go visit her to show her she has friends who love and support her? Is there anything more I can do than encourage her to stick with counseling? -- WORRIED SICK IN INDIANA
DEAR WORRIED: If you know the name of Charlotte's therapist, you could write the person a letter about your friend confiding to you that she feels she has no reason to live anymore and has considered harming herself. Because of privacy laws, the therapist may not be able to communicate with you, but at least she will be aware. Whether Charlotte was serious or just venting, this is something her therapist would be in a better position to help with than you are from a distance.