Dear Annie: How to help a worried friend

Dear Annie: I have a friend who is going through a tough time, and I am wondering how I can help her.

She was a single mother who raised two daughters and a son on her own. I am still amazed at how she provided a safe and loving home for her children all by herself. Her daughters are married and living in different states with their families. Her 40-year-old son was also married; however, he went through a nasty divorce last year and moved back to live with my friend. He is currently unemployed. His car was recently rear-ended. When the police arrived, they smelled alcohol on his breath and gave him a Breathalyzer test. He was found to be legally drunk and was arrested. This was the start of a huge financial and emotional burden for my friend.

She calls me crying several times a week because she is so worried about her situation and about her son. As someone looking in from the outside, I feel that he could be depressed because his marriage ended and he continues to experience drama when dealing with his ex-wife. I think he could benefit from counseling, but I feel uncomfortable telling her this because of the financial burden she is already feeling.

Aside from being a shoulder to cry on, is there anything else I could do? She is a lovely lady, and I want to help, but this situation has made me feel helpless as a friend. — Helpless in Hot Springs

Dear Helpless in Hot Springs: Your mere presence is more help than you could ever know. A shoulder to cry on is an invaluable thing to offer a friend.

Because you two are so close, it wouldn’t be inappropriate for you to suggest that her son might benefit from therapy. Mental health care is not necessarily the huge financial burden that many assume it is. Therapy websites, such as BetterHelp and Talkspace, offer individual care from licensed therapists starting at about $35 a week, and if her son has Medicaid, he can look for covered providers at https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/medicaid.

Editor’s note: “Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.