The purpose of this study was to describe the coping of an adolescent girl who had been psychiatric inpatient care and her mother in everyday life. The case study design was used to gain intimate knowledge of the persons’ condition, thoughts, feelings, actions, intentions and environment. The data were collected by interviewing the adolescent and her mother during 1999–2001. The informants were interviewed three times. The data were analysed by inductive content analysis. Six categories were formulated to describe the coping demands faced by the adolescent who had been in psychiatric inpatient care. They were: suicidal behaviour, failing mental health, narrow social network, weakening sense of reality, low self-esteem and negative feedback from others. Her coping strategies were hobbies, praying and occasionally withdrawal into a fantasy world. Emotional support was her most important coping resource. The coping demands faced by the mother concerned her daughter's aggressive behaviour, withdrawal from personal relationships and inability to concentrate. The mother worried about her daughter's unstable mental health and future. She was also extremely concerned about the relationships between the family members. On top of everything else, the mother developed new somatic diseases. The mother took care of herself by studying and doing handiwork. Social life was very important to her. Her main coping resource was emotional support. She got emotional support from friends and members of the family. The family had previously kept in touch with friends, but the husband had broken off all contacts.