A few years ago my friend came to class with marks on his arms. It was clear these were from self-harm. Since I had met him, he never had such marks. Everyone in my friend group noticed, but none of us asked him about it. Later that day, another one of my friends told me that he had a rough night which involved a lot of tears and blood.
On the following weekend I was texting this friend, just having a normal conversation when he asked if I could call him. I was out running errands with my mom, and asked if I could call him when I got home. He said this was fine.
Many hours later, I got home. I was tired from being out all day and just wanted to go to bed. But, I knew my friend went through a rough patch earlier that week and wanted to talk. So, I called him. Almost immediately into our conversation he began telling me why he had self-harmed that week and that he used to do so regularly. I spoke with him for over an hour. I made it clear to him that I understood that he did what he did because in the moment it seemed like the only option. I advised him to first speak to someone when he’s upset, as this can often make people feel a lot better. I made sure he was alright before hanging up the phone.
After our conversation, I was very thankful he reached out to me. I was happy that I could be there to listen to him and offer a hint of advice. He has not come to me to for help since this incident, but I am still in contact and know he is doing much better today. I hope he knows I am always hear to listen.
My advice to anyone in a similar situation, is to call the individual. Even if you don’t feel like talking in that moment. Someone who reaches out, may desperately need you to listen. A call can save a life.