DEAR HARRIETTE: I saw a posting on Facebook the other day from a former colleague of mine. If I read her words correctly, it sounded like she is suicidal. I'm not kidding. I have noticed a few people in my life who are sounding depressed these days. I don't know if it's because the weather has been so lousy and people get down when it's cold and nasty, or if I should be worried because it could be a sign that they are actually considering suicide. What are the signs that I should look out for, and what can I do if I think a friend really might want to take his or her life? -- Life on the Line, Chicago
DEAR LIFE ON THE LINE: Mental health professionals suggest that if a friend or loved one is talking about suicide, you should take them seriously. Don't blow off any such comments. Instead, ask them how they are feeling. You can ask what's going on in their life. Listen carefully, but do not offer advice. You are not trained to help them out of their predicament. You can and should suggest that they get medical help. People who are depressed commonly feel suicidal, according to medical experts. Again, if you think your friend is in such a state, you can reach out and ask if you can be of help. A great resource is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, at 800-273-8255.