Campaign To End Mental Health Screenings In MA
Submitted by admin on Mon, 02/26/2007 - 22:09
The Freedom Center has initiated a campaign to end mental health screenings in MA to contribute to the nation-wide movement of opposition to screening programs.
On July 26 2004 the Bush Administrationâ€™s New Freedom Commission publicly announced its goal to screen every American for a mental disorder with priority being given to school children. The announcement generated an enormous backlash due to its overt sponsorship and resulting benefits for the pharmaceutical industry and a number of national and international grassroots organizations have mobilized to oppose the recommendationâ€™s implementation.
The grassroots movement has met with considerable success: the damage to mental health presented by the screening programs has received national and international media coverage, legislative action has prevented the implementation of TeenScreen in Florida school districts, and various lawsuits have been filed as a result of screening programs.
The Bush Administration has responded by holding a meeting with grassroots organizations where public concern over screening programs were acknowledged, the administration distanced itself from TeenScreen and TMAP as models for screening programs and treatment, and the administration has promised to adhere to federal parental consent regulations.
These successes are encouraging. However, the agenda to implement mental health screening programs in the school system continues. SAMHSA has been experimenting with screening programs in select school districts since 2000, the Garrett Lee Smith Act, the 1st youth suicide prevention bill, which preferences the use of screening programs as an early intervention and prevention strategy was signed into law Oct. 21 2004, and the federal courts dismissal of Fields V. Palmdale School District, a lawsuit filed by parents whose children had been given a survey about sex at their CA elementary school, has set a judicial precedent that protects the administration of mental health screening programs over parental consent regulations.
The Freedom Center has composed a letter endorsed by mental health consumers, psychiatric survivors, mental health professionals, students, teachers, and parents and have begun to send it to area school superintendents, health officials, PTOs, and student organizations to raise awareness and generate opposition to screening programs on a local level. We are prepared to provide an in-depth follow up educational workshop on screening programs and methods to oppose their implementation to interested participants.
We are preparing to send our letter with its endorsers to MA house and senate representatives that supported the Garrett Lee Smith Act to raise concern over the billâ€™s preference for screening programs and generate a response to these concerns from our stateâ€™s legislators.
To join us in our campaign please sign onto our letter or contact us for more information.
Parents, students, teachers, mental health consumers and mental health professionals, non-profit organizations, and psychiatric survivors are calling on the community to recognize the threat mental health screenings pose to our health and well-being, and to take a stand against their implementation in our school and health care systems.
On Aug. 26 2004 the Bush Administration announced the New Freedom Initiative, a plan to reform and improve mental health care in America, that called for the establishment of mandatory mental health screenings in school systems and primary health care facilities in order to identify adults and children with warning signs of mental illness and refer them to treatment.
On Oct. 21 2004 George Bush signed into legislation the Garrett Lee Smith Act, the 1st youth suicide prevention bill, that mandates the use of mental health screening as a prevention and intervention strategy. Every state is now in the process of implementing mental health screenings through the school system.
We are asking the community to consider the information that exposes pharmaceutical sponsorship of screening programs, information that questions the validity of the diagnoses given by screening programs, data that questions the validity of mainstream treatments of mental illness, and the traumatic experiences of consumers and survivors of the mental health system and oppose the implementation of screening programs.
FACTS ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH SCREENING
Mental health screenings are in the process of becoming mandated for every American. Many of us have experienced 1st hand the crippling effects of a psychiatric diagnosis. While many chose to use pharmaceuticals and accept their diagnosis to understand and manage their emotional states that choice is a luxury that is not extended to the majority of people who come in contact with the psychiatric system. Our legal rights to informed consent on medications and diagnoses and information about alternative treatment options are rarely upheld. Many of us have been told definitively that we have a chemical imbalance that we will never recover from and that we will need medication for the rest of our lives. Mental health screenings will extend this experience to millions of other Americans but will 1st target children and adolescents.
Childhood and adolescence are critical stages of development when identity and crucial life and coping skills are formed. The diagnoses imposed on children by mental health screenings and the resulting treatments will dramatically alter the process of their development and severely limit their ability to find healthy methods to deal with their emotions.
The contributors and endorsers of this letter strongly urge parents, students, teachers, school boards, school committees, school administrators, and the staff, practitioners, and patients of primary health care facilities to oppose mandatory mental health screening programs in favor of mental health programs that meet real emotional and psychological needs.
The Freedom Center
Staff Survivors Network
Mind Freedom Support Coalition International
Recovery Empowerment Network
Arise for Social Justice
Giorgia Alexander JFK middle school student
Xernay Aniwar JFK middle school student
Linda Famosi Safe Passage
Xenia S. Will, LCMHC
Denise R Ur
John Paul Whiting
Ruth Ann Faust
Delilia L. White
Karen E. Love
John V. Castagna
Donald F. Raymond
Cheryl Stevens, M.D.
Maria Diran psychology student
(1). PsychSearch.net < http://www.psychsearch.net/teenscreen.html>
(2). The lawsuit filed by Illinois parents for violation of parental consent laws through administration of the mental health screenings in their daughterâ€™s school. http://www.rutherford.org/PDF/2005.09.17.PDF
(4). Paula Caplan. They Say Your Crazy: how the worldâ€™s most powerful psychiatrists decide whoâ€™s normal. Perseus Book Group. 1995.
(5). Rob Waters â€œMedicating Aliahâ€ Mother Jones May/June 2005 Issue
(7). Psychsearch.net <www.psychsearch.net>
(8). The funding sponsors for Mental Health Screening Inc are all pharmaceutical companies. http://www.mentalhealthscreening.org/events/ndsd/sponsors.aspx
(9). Robert Whitaker. â€œThe Case Against Antipsychotic Drugs: a 50 year history of doing more harm than good.â€ Medical Hypothesis. 2004. 62. p. 5-13. (www.freedom-center.org/pdf/whitakercaseagainstneuroleptics.pdf)
(10). Vera Sharav â€œAmericaâ€™s Overmedicated Childrenâ€ Alliance for Human Research Protection. http://www.ahrp.org/ahrpspeaks/OvermedUSkids0605.php
(11). The summary of the minutes and results of the FDA committee vote to issue a black box warning for the risk of suicidality in antidepressant use. www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/ ac/04/minutes/2004-4065M1_Final.doc
(12). Sarah Boseley. â€œ50,000 children taking antidepressantsâ€ The Guardian UK. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,1045902,00.html
(13). Peoria Illinois Journal Star July 11,2005