In the 1960′s and 1970′s when someone was diagnosed with serious mental illness, specifically schizophrenia, the parents were blamed by their physicians. Mothers were called “cold” or overprotective, fathers were “disengaged and distant” and that, said some psychiatrists and medical textbooks was the cause of mental illness.
Today doctors understand that mental illness involves biology, genetics and environmental factors, but the myth that bad parenting is the cause still exists.
It was some of these wrongly accused parents that started the advocacy movement in the 1970′s that eventually turned into the largest grassroots organization of it’s kind (NAMI) advocating for, supporting and educating people with mental illness AND their families.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and for Mother’s Day some PBS stations are airing a documentary, “When Medicine Got it Wrong” about the so-called “Schizophrenic Mother.” Unfortunately, it isn’t scheduled to be aired locally, but the video is available at: www.whenmedicine.org
I hope you all are able to celebrate with your Mother this weekend. Being a Mom can be difficult at times, but it’s benefits are incalculable. Happy Mother’s Day to my Mom!