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Thursday 27th October 2016

Depression is treatable once diagnosed

12th November 2009

Jeremy Laurance writes in The Independent about the case of the German football player who recently committed suicide.

manindespairQRobert Enke, captain of the German football team, killed himself after suffering from depression.

His widow Teresa said he had been worried that if his condition was made public then their recently adopted baby might be taken away from them. Could this worry have contributed to Enke killing himself?

Adoption can be a difficult process. An adopted child may have a variety of problems and it would be hard to face these if one was deeply depressed.

It could be that the new baby's arrival exacerbated Enke's self-criticism and caused him to doubt his parenting skills.

The arrival could also have brought up feelings of grief connected with the death of the couple's biological daughter.

A parent who has experienced the death of one child will naturally fear that something might happen to another child.

Is it likely that the couple would have had their new daughter removed once they found out about Enke's mental health problems? It seems doubtful the baby would have been taken away, as adoption is an "irrevocable legal process".

However, children can be taken away of a parent is judged to be an "unfit" carer. The fact that Enke had not told the authorities about his mental health issues could have led him to believe, while in the grip of depression, that his daughter could be put into care.

Depression is a prevalent illness and can be treated. It should not stand in the way of adoption, but "it is always better acknowledged than concealed".


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