I’m hoping for some advice with how to approach a friend who is apparently self harming. Said friend is currently on a break with her long-term boyfriend.

The boyfriend (who is not a jerk) approached one of our mutual friends to let them know that she is cutting - he is worried but due to their relationship status feels limited in helping and contacting her (I believe this is her request). The mutual friend has messaged her and she wasn’t replying to him. The mutual (who has very little to do with me these days) is not good at keeping his mouth shut about... well, anything tbh, and told my close friend A. A messaged me to ask for advice as he knows I have self harmed in the past and we both care a lot for this friend. I said I would try and get her to meet me and judge what I can or can’t do to help. I messaged her telling her I am buying her dinner (mentioning nothing about all of this) and she replied to me. We are meeting for dinner next week.

Background: my friend suffers from OCD (of which I have no experience other than listening to her experience of it). She has also been having anxiety and depression issues for some years. She has had CBT in the past. She also has quite a stressful (and pretty new) job.

I am not sure how to approach her on this. She’s generally quite an open person regarding her life and mental health, and she is also fully aware of my experience with depression, anxiety and self harm. So she would know that I would understand. But, when I was in the habit of self harming, I know I was extremely private about it and clammed up if anyone mentioned it. Not to mention that no matter how much the people involved had their hearts in the right place, it could feel like a betrayal that this was passed on and discussed without her.


I am generally fine for experience, resources on the issue, and mental health knowledge except to some extent OCD. I’m really looking for how to approach this, without backing her into a corner, and ideally without hurting her trust in those who passed this information on as they are people she trusts. Self harm is a cycle I found myself stuck in for years and have so many regrets about, I hate to think of her being in the same position. I understand that my help is limited to what she is willing to accept, but I’d like to make the best possibe attempt here at helping rather than hurting her.

Due to my timezone, if you respond I may not come back to you until tomorrow - it’s getting late here.

EDIT: Thanks for the responses. I also linked this to a friend with OCD who does not know any of the people mentioned to get her input on that side of things. The consensus is definitely a softly softly approach. I’ll take it all on board and see what she shares when we catch up on her life. Will take it from there.