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  1. #1
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    Schizophrenic parent- who's responsible?

    I read about this incident that happened in San Francisco: a young mother threw her 3 kids into the waters of San Francisco Bay. They all died and she is being charged w/ murder. She had been diagnosed w/ schizophrenia and had been living at a Salvation Army shelter. Her family said that she had made previous comments about voices telling her to kill her chidren in various ways.

    The people from the shelter said that they had just talked to the young mom about how she was doing and how her kids were doing the day before. And that they had no idea this would happen. I realize schizophrenia is a very complex disorder and it is difficult if not impossible to predict these kinds of tragedies. But I am wondering, whether society or these kinds of organizations are just lacking basic information about mental health and Axis I and II disorders. How can you trust a schizophrenic who hears voices and tells you about the intention of her voices about killing her children that things will be ok?? Apparently, she was on meds though. What is everyone's responsibility in this? At what point are children no longer safe in the care of their schizophrenic parent? Who is responsible to look after this? I am not saying schizophrenic or people w/ other disorders should not be parents, in fact, I think they should, but there needs to be some way to manage the situation and be aware of possible risks and get these people maximum help to ensure things like this will not happen.

  2. #2
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    Schizophrenic parent- who's responsible?

    I imagine that tragedies like this will always occur from time to time. People with command hallucinations are often aware at some level that other people will react negaitively to receiving that information and they typically will try to conceal them or at le4ast their severity from other people. If she had been in regular contact with an experienced psychologist or psychiatrist, it might have been picked up but that often is not the case. The people who run Salvation Army shelters and similar organizations and residences simply don't have and really can't be expected to have the training and experience to be ebale to spot danger signs. Indeed, even mental health professionals with many years of training and experience in working with patients with psychotic disorders can be fooled. The prediction of dangerousness is unfortunately far from an exact science.

  3. #3
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    Schizophrenic parent- who's responsible?

    true. that these things are bound to happen one way or another. and that people just can't be expected (professionals or not) to "predict" these things. and that's not what I was implying. it's just scary that this had to happen. but then, if schizophrenics try to hide these things and there is no one way to tell if they are, how do you try to keep them from harming themselves or others???? do you just wish for the best??? I'm not saying they're harmful, I'm just saying as in this case there's potential that things can go really wrong and if kids are involved..... I don't know. it's so sad.

  4. #4
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    Schizophrenic parent- who's responsible?

    What I am saying is that the more contact such individuals have and the more the therapist is able to gain trust, the more likely it is that they can be helped with their reality checking. The problem with all the health care cutbacks in the past decade or so is that many of these people are now virtually struggling alone. And they tend not to actively seek help any way because of trust issues and fear.

    We need to recognize the damage that has been done to mental health care and start to reverse it -- and soon. Putting people like that women on the streets, into short-term shelters, or prison is a tragedy -- and as a society we should be outraged and ashamed.

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