Massachusetts murders: Could postpartum psychosis have played a role?

By MDLinx staff
Published February 1, 2023

Key Takeaways

  • A mother, possibly suffering from postpartum psychosis, is accused of murdering her children.

  • Postpartum psychosis is a rare mental health issue and differs from postpartum depression.

  • Patients may feel nervous or have heightened anxiety following this news.

A Massachusetts mother is accused of killing her three children—ages 5 years to 8 months old. According to multiple news sources, the murders took place late last month in Duxbury, MA. Lindsay Clancy, 32, has been charged with two counts of homicide and multiple counts of strangulation and assault and battery. 

Lindsay Clancy, who tried to self harm immediately following the murders, appears to have her husband's, Patrick Clancy's, support.

“I want to ask all of you that you find it deep within yourselves to forgive Lindsay, as I have. The real Lindsay was generously loving and caring towards everyone - me, our kids, family, friends, and her patients. The very fibers of her soul are loving. All I wish for her now is that she can somehow find peace,” Patrick Clancy stated on the family's GoFundMe page. 

Her husband also identified her as a nurse. According to multiple news outlets, she was employed by Massachusetts General Hospital.

Possible mental health condition

Though it is not confirmed, Lindsay Clancy may have suffered from postpartum psychosis, which is a rare mental health condition that occurs in about one or two out of 1,000 births.[]

Usually, the symptoms appear within the first two weeks after giving birth and a family history of bipolar disorder is present. First-time mothers are also at a higher risk for developing the condition.[] [] [] 

Postpartum psychosis vs. postpartum depression

Symptoms of postpartum psychosis can include hearing voices and increased agitation.[]

Postpartum psychosis differs from postpartum depression. The common symptoms of postpartum depression include fatigue, no interest in doing activities that were previously enjoyed, sleeping too little or too much, loss of appetite, and difficulties bonding with the baby.[] 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 8 mothers will develop postpartum depression.[]

Both of these conditions are different from the "baby blues," which impact 7 in 10 first-time mothers. These mothers may experience emotional ups and downs and anxiety. Treatment is usually not needed and the symptoms dissipate in about two weeks after birth.[]

The treatment for postpartum psychosis includes hospitalization and possible use of antipsychotics and other mood stabilizers.[]

Keep in mind

Patients may be on edge and have strong emotional responses after hearing about this tragedy. New parents and mothers may be especially worried about the state of their mental health. You may need to recommend further evaluation to some patients depending on their symptoms and anxiety levels.

Read Next: Why better screening and treatment are needed for postpartum depression

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