Psychotherapy has proven to be exceptionally helpful for managing mental health issues. Sadly, the same couldn’t hold for Brittany, who lost her life at age 21. Even though she had been enrolled in talk therapy since high school, she was never satisfied with the kind of care provided to her by her therapist.

Anxiety Through the Earlier Years

Brittany was born to anxious parents, each of whom had struggled in the past with depression and anxiety. Even though they surrounded her with love and affection, Brittany started to exhibit withdrawal symptoms and kept isolating herself. Susan immediately took notice and enrolled her in talk therapy.

The Unempathetic Therapist

Susan wasn’t expecting immediate results, but she kept wondering if Brittany’s therapy was the right choice for her. Brittany was just a high school student who needed a mental health professional who would hear her troubles, validate her fears, and guide her on the best approach to tackle them.

She tried hard to get her psychiatrist to understand her problems and help her deal with depressive thoughts. On the other hand, he looked at her as just another name, filling up a slot. He never seemed interested in hearing her troubles. He was rude and curt, and his response to her struggles was always more medicine. He even went as far as suggesting putting her in the psychiatric ward.

This lack of empathy started to weigh on Brittany’s mind. Susan knew that Brittany had gone through sexual abuse at the hands of one of her friends, and she needed to process and overcome that trauma. Susan tried reaching out to the therapist and discussing her concerns, but he dismissed them and took her words as poor feedback on his treatment.

Susan still wouldn’t back down. She had to do everything she could to ensure her daughter felt better, but she kept running into dead ends. In their hometown, there was a lack of mental health resources, and even though she knew Brittany needed help, she could not arrange any other psychiatrist for her.

Would It Have Made a Difference?

Susan strongly believes if Brittany had found an empathetic therapist who heard her, understood her, and made her struggles easier, she would not have looked for other sources to relieve herself of the constant emotional pain.

Her therapist’s job was to follow her thought pattern, see what was going wrong with her life, identify her symptoms, and help her get through it. He chose not to. That certainly makes him share some of the blame for her death.

The coroner’s report might state Methadone overdose as the cause of death, but Susan believes that’s not the only culprit.

The Preventable Loss of Life

Brittany had a pilonidal cyst, and it put her in agonizing pain. She was also upset about a young man she was seeing. Too tired to fight the pain on her own, she chose to take methadone from her friend. Her friend shared the prescription that was illegal in NY and encouraged her to drink it all. Brittany, who didn’t know how drugs worked, accidentally overdosed and lost her life.

Susan Young Oskey rightly holds Brittany’s psychiatrist responsible for the decline in her mental health to the point where she could no longer make rational decisions.

If you’re interested in reading more about Brittany’s life, click here to read The Scent of Roses, a book about Brittany’s life, and her relationship with Susan, her mother!