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Fig 6.23-Schizophrenogenic Mother

Text: Page 262

As many mental health professionals continued to view mental illness through a schizophrenogenic mother lens, it was easy to understand the suffering of family members and the reason that a “brain disease” approach became very appealing. Frustrated with the view that bad parenting led to mental illness, in 1979, two mothers of mentally ill sons, Harriet Shetier and Beverly Yung, founded the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) because they were tired of being blamed for their sons’ mental illness.

As medication became a primary mode of treatment for serious mental illness, NAMI became a powerful support in the 1980s of the medical model and the “brain disease” approach. Since mothers had no control over the brain of their child, the schizophrenogenic mother became discredited and replaced by the diseased brain theory as the explanation for mental illness.

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