I go to a small university in a small city and live together with five friends in a house we rent out. This situation is wonderful—apart from one friend, “Ellie.” Ellie has severe mental health issues, as do many of us in the house. (I myself am in the middle of a major depressive period, which I am in treatment for.) Ellie spends most of the day in her room, posting on her Twitter account (we all follow each other) about how depressed she is, about acts of self-harm she wants to commit, about how much she wishes she could be with her friends (we are her only friends), and about how suicidal she often is.
I understand she needs to vent, but this is difficult to deal with when we are constantly reaching out to her, trying to help her get help, saying that we are here if she wants to talk, and generally trying to help the best we can. Her tweets are hard to read and often seem intended to make us feel bad about hanging out without her, when we invite her constantly and she ignores our invites! We have suggested therapy, and one of our friends has physically gone with her to student support services. These constant posts about how miserable she is when she will not accept any help make us feel awful, and we’re becoming less and less sympathetic. This has been going on for months. How do we deal with this?
—Home Stuck in Hell