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The Lies, The Shrinks & The Suicide Survey

Added: (Sun Dec 04 2005)

Pressbox (Press Release) - "I want more!" Edmund shouted, after swallowing the last of the pizza and admiring his new TeenScreen stressball.

"If you answer my questions, child, you can have more," the Queen replied, smiling. "Now tell me, how often do your parents get annoyed or upset with you because of the way you were feeling or acting?"

"I dunno," Edmund mumbled.

"Okay," the Queen continued. "Has there been a time when nothing was fun for you and you just weren't interested in anything?"

"Oh sure," replied Edmund, reflecting on the irony.

The Queen's eyes lit up. "Interesting," she mused, whilst scribbling down a note.

"How so?" asked Edmund.

"You have Generalized Anxiety Disorder," replied the Queen. "It's a Mental Illness, and can be very debilitating. Don't worry, though, I'll explain everything to your parents. It's easily treatable."

OKAY, so it may not be as enchanting as C. S. Lewis' The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe, but it's actually not that far off the truth.

Last year, it is claimed, around 122,000 children in the USA took a mental health screening questionnaire, known as TeenScreen, whilst at school.

Developed by Columbia University psychiatrist, David Schaffer, TeenScreen claims "to help young people and their parents through the early identification of mental health problems."

However, this has brought about much criticism, particularly over what exactly constitutes a mental health problem, and how it is diagnosed.

"It's total junkscience," says Michael Westen, editor of the online activist group Psychbusters, (http://groups.msn.com/psychbusters) set up in 2000 to 'decode Psychiatric propaganda'. "There is no test or brain scan that can show the existence of any psychiatric disorder. Diagnoses are entirely subjective, based on descriptions granted authority by a committee that votes on them by a show of hands. What we may see as a naturally active and inquisitive child, a psychiatrist may decide he has a mental illness, like ADHD, and recommend drugs as a so-called solution."

According to Columbia University, parents of youths found to be at possible risk are notified and helped with identifying and connecting to local mental health services where they can obtain further evaluation and potential treatment.

For TeenScreen's critics, however, this indeed means the use of psychiatric drugs. According to a survey published in the Journal of American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry (2002), 41:123130, the treatment for approximately 9 out of 10 children consisted of drugging.

"It's just a way to put more people on prescription drugs," says Marcia Angell, a medical ethics lecturer at Harvard Medical School and author of "The Truth About Drug Companies." Such programs, Angell claims, will boost the sales of antidepressants despite the FDA ordering a "black box" label warning that such drugs can sometimes spur suicidal thoughts or actions in minors.

"Parental rights are unclear or nonexistent under these mental health screening programs." says author and columnist Phyllis Schlafly. "What are the rights of youth and parents to refuse or opt out of such screening? Will they face coercion and threats of removal from school, or child neglect charges, if they refuse privacy-invading interrogations or unproved medications? How will a child remove a stigmatizing label from his records?"

"TeenScreen [has so far] resulted in one-third of the subjects being flagged as "positive" for mental health problems. Half of those were turned over for mental health treatment. If that is a preview of what would happen when 52 million public school students are screened, it would mean hanging a libelous label on 17 million American children and forcibly putting 8 million children into the hands of the psychiatric/pharmaceutical industry."

"E-mail your school district superintendent and ask if TeenScreen has been implemented or if there are any plans to implement it," says activist Ken Kramer. His PsychSearch website (http://www.psychsearch.net/teenscreen.html) is fast becoming the number one search ranking for "TeenScreen" on the internet, due to huge amounts of public interest and support. "Keep things in writing. If the answer is yes, alert other parents and voice your opposition. It is time the American public squarely confronts TeenScreen's insidious assault on our children."

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PSYCHBUSTERS
Decoding Psychiatric Propaganda
http://groups.msn.com/psychbusters

Submitted by:Michael Westen / Psychbusters
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