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Adolescent mental health: Challenges with maternal noncompliance

Authors Nejtek V, Hardy S, Winter S

Published 30 March 2010 Volume 2010:6(1) Pages 67—69


Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Vicki A Nejtek, Sarah Hardy, Scott Winter

University of North Texas Health Science Center, Fort Worth, TX, USA

Abstract: The leading cause of suicide ideation, attempts, and completion in adolescents is persistent and unresolved parental conflict. National statistics show extremely high rates of childhood neglect and abuse are perpetrated most often by single mothers. Psychiatric disorders arising from maternal–child dysfunction are well-documented. However, resources to prevent offspring victimization are lacking. Here, we report maternal neglect of a 15-year-old male brought to the psychiatric emergency room for suicidal ideation. An inpatient treatment plan including pharmacotherapy, family therapy and psychological testing was initiated. The patient’s mother failed to attend clinic appointments or family therapy sessions. Clinician attempts to engage the mother in the treatment plan was met with verbal assaults, aggression, and threatening behavior. The patient decompensated in relation to the mother’s actions. Child Protective Services were contacted and a follow-up assessment with the patient and mother is pending. Psychiatric treatment of the mother may be a necessary intervention and prevention regimen for both the adolescent and the mother. Without consistent Child Protective Services oversight, medical and psychosocial follow-up, the prognosis and quality of life for this adolescent is considered very poor. Stringent mental health law and institutional policies are needed to adequately intercede and protect adolescents with mental illness.

Keywords: adolescent, suicide, maternal treatment noncompliance, maternal neglect

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