The children of women who take overdoses may suffer due to the same factors that predispose to the overdose, to witnessing the event and the immediate and long-term consequences of it. We examined what arrangements had been made for the children of 21 women admitted to hospital after an overdose, and enquired into the explanation that the mother planned to give the children. Children of mothers with psychiatric disorder were more likely to have witnessed the overdose. Mothers preferred that the children did not know about the overdose. The importance of this for the psychological development of the children is discussed.
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