Personal Views

A psychiatrist in the family

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.316.7129.483 (Published 07 February 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:483
  1. Kamala-Maria Mueller, senior registrar in child and adolescent psychiatry
  1. Nottingham

    I was in my first post in psychiatry and went to see my parents. My mother was unwell. I had seen her in this state many times but I had not understood. Her mood was low and she talked about hanging herself. I suggested that she should see her GP but she refused. I proposed a psychiatric appointment. She did not want to know: “Hospital? I'll run away.” I talked with my father. “No psychiatrists,” he said. “I took her once and the psychiatrist blamed me. She always gets depressed in winter and recovers in the spring without treatment.” My sisters asked: “Can't you help her? Why do we have a psychiatrist in the family? Don't you know how to get her better?”

    I did not think it right for a daughter to treat her mother, especially for a psychiatric …

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