DEAR HARRIETTE: One of my best friends has been down in the dumps for a long time now. Ever since the new year, it seems to have gotten worse. It's not that she is without good reason. She lost her job a few years ago and was getting unemployment insurance until the time ran out. Now she is piecing together jobs here or there, but hardly making enough money to keep her place and eat. I am at a loss for how to help her. I do not have any real money to give her, and I don't have room for her to live with my family and me. But she is my friend. I want to do something to lift her spirits. Any ideas? -- Worried Friend, Racine, Wisconsin
DEAR WORRIED FRIEND: Your friend may be able to find support through a local community organization or house of worship. Often these places host food banks where they give away groceries on a daily or weekly basis. These same organizations commonly offer spiritual counseling, which can be helpful for someone who is depressed. The local unemployment office should offer workshops on staying employment-viable. Your friend can check into the availability of classes, workshops and counseling there.
Research the outlets listed above and present them to your friend as options for support. Stay positive and let her know you believe in her. When people have been out of work for prolonged periods of time, they often lose faith in themselves. Be a cheerleader!