Women’s Mental Health is once again in the spotlight after the sentencing of Tania Clarence for manslaughter for the deaths of her children. I can’t comment on that specific case, but it did make me think of a few things.
One of the things that it highlighted was the need for support of women who are looking after disabled children. The amount of emotional strain they experience is unfathomable, especially in the face of a child with a terminal illnesses. Carer fatigue and depression is common, and mental health services can help a little to ease the carers suffering.
Support groups, psychotherapy and perhaps medication should all be available for this vulnerable group of women. The problem I foresee is that this group of women are so involved with the 24hr care of their child, that they don’t have any time to look after their mental health. In this case, Mrs Clarence was found to have been/still is severely depressed, and this was found to be a mitigating fact in the case.
Signs of depression in this group of women will be similar to the typical features of depression notably poor sleep and appetite, feelings of hopelessness, low energy levels, disturbed concentration and memory and suicidal thoughts. People suffering from depression lose the ability to think rationally at times, and may make decisions in this state which they later regret. Medication or psychotherapy is not a magic cure for these women, but it does make things more bearable on a day to day basis.
This case tragically shows how depression in mothers can affect the whole family.
If you are in that position or know someone in that position please contact your health care practitioner, or SADAG’s website in order to find some help.