Mental Health Day urges protections against school mental health screenings



Human Rights Group Calls on Missouri Commissioner of Education to Act

St. Louis – International Mental Health Day was a launching pad to draw attention to the dangers of behavioral screening and programs and psychiatric drugs in schools. The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), a 38-year psychiatric watchdog group, has asked Missouri State Commissioner of Education Dr. D. Kent King to protect schoolchildren from potentially being placed on dangerous psychiatric drugs by cutting funding for mental health screening of schoolchildren. The screening can lead to students being referred for psychiatric drug treatment that can induce violent and suicidal behavior. In a letter sent to the Commissioner, CCHR asked Dr. King to redirect state funds towards non-drug educational programs, additional teachers and music/art education instead.

A federal recommendation to screen all 52 million schoolchildren for “mental disorders” has drawn scathing criticism and “triggered fierce controversy” according to a 2004 British Medical Journal article. The controversy hasn’t died, CCHR says, and thousands of petition signatures across the nation have since condemned screening that parents charge is aimed at feeding the $27 billion a year sales in psychotropic drugs.

To raise public awareness on this issue CCHR members were present at the Federal Courthouse in downtown St. Louis, having petitions signed and handing passers-by “Fact Sheets on Mental Health Screening and Psychiatric Drugs for Children” warning of at least 18 acts of school violence by students taking psychiatric drugs, half of them antidepressants. In 2002, the U.S. Secret Service and Department of Education report on prevention of school attacks found school shootings/attacks between 1974 and June 2000 averaged 1.4 incidents per year. Since 1988, when the first of the new antidepressants came on the market, the number of incidents almost doubled to 2.5 per year. Despite increased mental health funds to prevent school violence, the opposite has occurred. CCHR spokesperson Teresa Hassler said, “This is because the correct reason for the violence is not being addressed: mental health screenings, psychological programs and psychotropic drugs being prescribed to curtail the violence are the very things causing it.”

At least 7 of the 18 students above had also undergone anger management/conflict resolution classes or psychological counselling, including the Columbine school shooters—programs that experts have also indicated could increase violent tendencies. Ms. Hassler said, “It’s time to put an end to our schools being used as mental health labs and get education back on track, without wasting millions of taxpayers’ money on unworkable and potentially dangerous psychological curricula and drugs.”

Parents consenting to mental health screening are unaware that it is based on the American Psychiatric Association’s “billing bible,” the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM), which is not based on science. Unlike for most medical conditions, psychiatrists admit they do not know the cause of or cure for any mental disorder. Dr. Thomas Szasz, professor emeritus of psychiatry at the State University of New York, Health Science Center says, “There is no blood or other biological test to ascertain the presence or absence of a mental illness, as there is for most bodily diseases.”

The DSM has been criticized as unreliable because of its subjective nature and the influence of pharmaceutical companies on it. A study published last year in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics determined that psychiatric drug makers funded 100% of the APA panel members that decided what “mood” and “psychotic” disorders were included in the DSM. TeenScreen, one of the “depression screening programs” being used across the country, is based on the DSM. Its developer, David Schaffer of Columbia University, admitted to the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry that the test has an 84% false positive rate. This means that 84% of teens diagnosed as having some sort of mental health or social disorder are, in fact, perfectly normal teenagers.

Ms. Hassler said, “Mental Health Day was chosen to raise awareness about the need for greater protection for schoolchildren because psychiatrists often use tragedies such as school shootings to demand millions more in government funds, and to increase mental health protocols being used in schools without ever being held accountable for not reducing the problems it claims to be able to help. If nothing is done about this, we could be looking at 40 million American kids taking psychiatric drugs within the next decade.”

Since 2000, there have been 119 international drug regulatory agency warnings against psychiatric drugs, including more than a dozen FDA warnings in the past three years. Depending upon which group of drugs, they could cause agitation, blood disorders, hallucinations, hostility, psychotic depression, strokes, heart attack, psychosis, severe liver damage, diabetes, seizures, suicide, violence and death.

Citizens Commission on Human Rights was established in 1969 by the Church of Scientology and Dr. Thomas Szasz, Professor of Psychiatry, as a watchdog organization to investigate and expose psychiatric violations of human rights.

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