Sep 09 2013

Psychiatrist Could Have Used Some Mental Health Services Herself -Vol. 117, September 8, 2011

Sadly enough there are many practitioners of mental health who themselves are in crisis who could use the assistance of one of their colleagues. In a Washington Post article written on August 3, 2011 it was reported that psychiatrist Margaret F. Jensvold, a graduate of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine fatally shot her 13 year old son in her home before killing herself.
Based on the report Dr. Jensvold was very involved in getting appropriate care for her son, whom she believed had an autoimmune disease caused by a streptococcal infection. In addition, he was diagnosed as having attention deficit disorder and obesity according to the attorney who handled her divorce proceeding.
Her son had just returned from a special weight loss boarding school where he had come home a 100 pounds lighter right before the murder-suicide. It seems that this mother, was doing the best she could to get the specialized medical and educational care that she felt her son required. Apparently Dr. Jesvold had the resources to pay for the special care needed and yet here she and her son are both dead. The question to be asked is: Why?
People who work in the healing arts are by nature always looking out for others. Though this is laudable, one needs to think about one’s self. This very loving and involved mother was unable to reach out for the support that she needed dealing with her own frustrations taking care of her special needs child. This is particularly upsetting in that she must have had colleagues that could have helped her if she only requested it. Remember no one is able to handle all of life’s issues on one’s own. The question then becomes one of when to reach out for support for one’s self. I would say that the time comes when you feel that you are drowning in negative thoughts or finding yourself creating obsessive thinking or behavior that is getting in the way of your own functioning.
Unfortunately, it isn’t only practitioners of the health field who find themselves in this situation. We have had many news stories of late of women killing their children with all the stress they are feeling in life. Most often the parent has a mental health issue that has gotten out of control. This leads in many cases to one of feeling overwhelmed to the point of not knowing what to do anymore.
Andrea Yates of Houston was believed to have drowned her 5 kids in the bathtub back in 2001. She was known to have suffered from depressive episodes before the incident. Julie Powers Schenecker of Tampa, Florida had called her mother telling her that she was depressed before she was found to have shot her son and daughter to death because she could no longer take their talking back to her. One day Lashanda Armstrong drove her minivan right into the frigid waters of the Hudson River killing her children.
With the huge amount of coverage these stories receive in the news we think that these cases are less common then the numbers reveal. The National Violent Death Reporting System at the CDC Injury Center, compiles numbers from 16 states. In those states a 130 children were killed by a parent in 2008, the last year for which numbers were available. It happens more than a 100 times a year. In the same year the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System reported an estimated, 1,740 child fatalities. This is when a child dies from an injury caused by abuse or neglect.
The majority of poor disadvantaged teen mothers who land in jail for killing their kids, have gone undiagnosed and untreated for mental health problems.  A research study was done at the Ohio Reformatory for Women by Meyer and Oberman. The prison had 1,800 women of which 80 were there for killing their children. The findings showed that this issue crossed socio-economic status, class and race.
Given these very high numbers it is obvious that many more mothers are in crisis than one would want to believe. It seems to me that if you as a mother are feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope, you need to get yourself appropriate assistance to help you deal with the feelings that are stuck inside you.
Hypnosis is a wonderful way to contend with your inner concerns. Through the process you can effectively deal with the underlying problems that are creating the negative feelings, while finding constructive ways to deal with your children. Please access the help you need before you get into a real crisis situation where you feel that there is no way “out.” If we allow ourselves to get unstuck, options we never thought we had become available. As always do make sure that any practitioner you work with has had experience dealing with this very real and sensitive situation.

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