"Sylvia Frumkin" has a baby: a case study for policymakers

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry; Clinical and Population Health Research; Center for Mental Health Services Research

Publication Date


Document Type



Child; Child, Preschool; Female; *Foster Home Care; *Health Policy; Humans; Infant; Infant, Newborn; Male; Mental Competency; Parenting; *Patient Care Team; Pregnancy; Psychotic Disorders; Social Work; Suicide; Treatment Failure




"Sylvia Frumkin" was a pseudonym given to a 32-year-old woman with chronic mental illness described by Susan Sheehan in her books Is There No Place on Earth for Me? This paper presents the case of "Gloria Morrison," a patient similar to Ms. Frumkin, who is also a mother. Issues raised by the case in three areas are discussed. Issues for the service delivery system include developing better assessment, prediction, and reduction of the risk that a parent's mental illness may pose to a child's safety and well-being; targeting supportive and educational interventions to relatives and foster parents caring for children of severely mentally ill patients; and tailoring programs and services to the needs of such patients and their children. Clinical treatment issues include offering treatment options through agencies other than the department of social services; developing protocols for the care of severely mentally ill pregnant and postpartum women; focusing on issues of loss; and providing parenting skills training. Issues in the area of family support include increasing providers' awareness of family burden and alleviating conflicts between the family and patient.


Psychiatr Serv. 1996 May;47(5):497-501.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Psychiatric services (Washington, D.C.)

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Link to Article in PubMed

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