DEAR HARRIETTE: I have received some disturbing emails from a close friend of mine. He sounds depressed, and I am really worried about him. I've told him that I'm here for him if he needs me, and I've also tried inviting him to my church because I think he needs some spiritual uplifting. My friend seems to be stuck in a rut, and I am getting a sense that he does not want to do anything to get himself out of this depression. Is there any more I should be doing, or should I give him space? -- Trying to Help a Friend, Salt Lake City
DEAR TRYING TO HELP A FRIEND: As you already know, you cannot control your friend. What you can do is to stay in touch with him. If he will allow it, go visit him often. Do your best to get him to communicate. By the way, it's best to not do this by yourself. If you have church members who might be willing to pitch in to support him, ask them for help. If you know his family, call on them.
Ultimately, you may have to stand down, but not before you make it crystal clear to him that you love him and want to help him climb out of his rut. If your friend is depressed, he should get medical help. No matter your good intentions, you cannot be that for him. You can tell him as much, but he has to make the choice to get help.