Dear Bearby: Confused TBH

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Dear Bearby,

I’m friends with someone who is constantly making suicidal jokes and saying they want to kill themselves. They do it so often that I’m not sure if I should take them seriously or not. Everyday they say “I want to be run over by a car.” Like, same, but I don’t make it into a joke! Help!

Sincerely,
Confused tbh

Dear Confused tbh,

Your friend might feel uncomfortable bringing up her mental health in a serious way, so instead makes jokes about it. It is important to have a solid support system, especially during difficult times, and it is admirable you are concerned about your friend. Checking in on them in a private moment and having honest conversations about mental health could be beneficial to you both. It can be hard to have serious conversations with someone who makes jokes about their feelings, but it is important to be straightforward to show your genuine concern.
However, if these interactions are making you feel uncomfortable, it’s also important to set your boundaries. In this case, let your friend know that while you want to make sure they are doing okay, you feel awkward when they joke about such a serious topic. Keeping an open line of communication is important in any friendship, but especially when the conversations are this personal.
Overall, it’s a lot safer to take these jokes seriously. The best support you can offer is simply being a kind person, and standing by your friend in hard times. M-A offers many mental health resources to students, and you can also anonymously refer your friend to a counselor.

Love,
Bearby

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