Mother Kills Daughter & Husband | Depression and Despair | 16 Tips for Identifying Depression

Regina Johnson, 55, was accused of shooting her 14-year-old daughter and 56-year-old husband to death. Johnson allegedly sat in her San Carlos condominium for three days with the bodies before calling her relatives to report the shootings.

Johnson joins the many mothers that have been charged with allegations of murdering their children. In 2001, Andrea Yates drowned her five children in the bath. Twenty-five-year-old Lashanda Armstrong allegedly had a heated argument with her boyfriend (the father of her three youngest children) about infidelity, leading her to commit suicide including her children. Other mothers have shot their children for being “mouthy,” and some have sent their children to their grave by strapping them into a car and sending it into a river.

The question yet remains, “What would cause a mother to kill her child?”

Some psychologists suggest that symptoms of depression may have been prevalent in the lives of these mothers that were untreated. Family, friends and coworkers often recount moments of despair and hopelessness of the mothers. Unfortunately, untreated mental disorders have put many children at risk.

Most commonly, a mother’s depression is may be initially diagnosed as postpartum shortly after delivery. On the other hand, some professionals suggest that a mother’s depression may continue beyond a child’s infancy.

“Anyone can be depressed,” according to Carol Weitzman, an associate professor of developmental-behavior pediatrics at Yale University School of Medicine and lead researcher on the study. But when an adult is caring for children, depression can have large and lasting effects on the kids, making maternal depression “a big public health problem for children,” she notes.

16 Signs of Depression

  1. Extended periods of sadness or unhappiness
  2. Irritability or frustration, even over small matters
  3. Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities
  4. Reduced sex drive
  5. Insomnia or excessive sleeping
  6. Changes in appetite — depression often causes decreased appetite and weight loss, but in some people it causes increased cravings for food and weight gain
  7. Agitation or restlessness — for example, pacing, hand-wringing or an inability to sit still
  8. Irritability or angry outbursts
  9. Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
  10. Indecisiveness, distractibility and decreased concentration
  11. Fatigue, tiredness and loss of energy — even small tasks may seem to require a lot of effort
  12. Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or blaming yourself when things aren’t going right
  13. Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
  14. Frequent thoughts of death, dying or suicide
  15. Crying spells for no apparent reason
  16. Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches

If you or someone you know are struggling with depression or hopelessness, contact a therapist or mental health professional for assistance.

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Author: Jada Collins, MA, MS, Register Mental Health Counselor Intern | Author, International Communicator & Life Coach