Alice asks :

Hello Lucy,

A little while ago my friend/roommate I'll call him Sam, lost his best friend of 17 years to breast cancer and it naturally hit him really hard. He hasn’t been eating and has lost a lot of weight because of it he doesn’t talk he just locks himself away in his room and cries himself to sleep. I’ve found him passed out in the kitchen with a bottle of alcohol in his hand I’m really worried, is there anything I can do? How can I help him? Will I ever get my friend back to his old self? Thank you

Hi Alice,

Agony Aunts on Female First

Agony Aunts on Female First

This sounds like an awful situation to be in- when you want to help your friend but can't find a way to at the moment.

If he is in his room then perhaps knock on his door with some food and ask to eat it in there with him. If you show a healthy appetite then this might encourage him to have some food with you. If you are in the comfort of his room too then he might also feel he is able to talk to you without the pressure of other people milling around.

Depending on how much talking you do together you could recommend that he go and see a counsellor. If he sees the doctor then they can refer him to a university counsellor who will have a minimum of six sessions with him to talk through his feelings. He might then feel comfortable talking to you more or you could be the catalyst to him getting the help it sounds like he needs. Either way as long as he is talking to someone then it should do him some good. It sounds like he has not spoken to anyone about what has happened so bottling it all up might be getting on top of him.

If he feels he needs to drink then perhaps suggest that he phone you when he gets the urge so you can catch him before he takes it too far like last time. Alcohol is a natural depressant and if he is already feeling down this will only make things worse.

As long as you are there for him to talk to when he needs and encourage him to get some extra help in the form of a counsellor, then hopefully he will get through this. You are not a replacement for her but there is a big hole missing in his life where his female best friend used to be- so hopefully your friendship will help fill some of that void for him.

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