Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Screening America's School Children for Suicide, Violence and Mental Illness

The TeenScreen Program is an extremely controversial mental health screening program developed by Columbia University’s Child Psychiatry Research Department. Their goal is to screen every school-aged child before graduation for suicide and "mental disorders" using a computer survey and then recommending those that are considered at risk for "treatment."

With daily reports of violence and even murder on the rise — on the surface this program sounds like a good thing. Could it be a program that could potentially reduce violence and deaths in our schools? Is TeenScreen really effective and able to achieve its stated goals? What kind of diagnosis and treatment methods are being recommended, and what are the long-term effects? What does screening mean to the future of our children?

Tested, Labeled and DruggedA simple test is given to students and the results are
scored using a screening checklist based on "symptoms", to determine what "disorders" the student is manifesting. These symptoms are the sole basis for any diagnosis of mental disease. The screening questions are specifically geared to match criteria from the APA's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fourth edition (DSM- IV), a manual that comprises all the "symptoms of mental diseases" that were voted into existence by the American Psychiatric Association.

An 84% Chance Your Child Will Incorrectly Be Determined to Have a Mental IllnessOne of the things TeenScreen fails to openly disclose is that the percent of false-positives for their screening tool is 84%, which means that the chances of your child walking away falsely labeled as "suicidal" or "mentally ill" is 84%!
Click to view PDF document — see page 7. Any screening program with that high a rate of false positives is for all intents and purposes useless. In fact, the author of the TeenScreen test, Dr. David Shaffer, acknowledges that his screening tool "would deliver many who were not at risk for suicide, and that could reduce the acceptability of a school-based prevention program."

Strong evidence suggests that the intended treatment for those so labeled is psychiatric drugging, using antidepressants and mood-altering drugs such as Ritalin, Xanax, Celexa, Paxil, Zoloft, Prozac, Thorazine, Luvox and other similar drugs which are known by the FDA (and the pharmaceutical companies) to cause depression, violence, suicide and homicide. In a recent survey of child psychiatrists it was discovered that 9 out of 10 children in their care were on at least one of these or similar drugs. Despite the recent FDA "black box" warnings, it is not unusual for a child to be put on two or more psychotropic antidepressant drugs — drugs that the FDA says can trigger suicidal thoughts. Do you want your child to be on these drugs with their potentially deadly side-effects?

Does Screening Work?As far as the reliability of screening, in 2004, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) stated that they "found no evidence that screening for suicide risk reduces suicide attempts or mortality." Furthermore, they found "
insufficient evidence that treatment of those at high risk reduces suicide attempts or mortality."

Is Drugging Effective?Here's a statistic that is rarely mentioned in news reports: In nearly every school shooting incident, the children and teens involved were
already taking one or more psychiatric drugs or had just recently come off them, and had been under the care of a psychiatrist or mental health practitioner. The same is true for the majority of child and teen suicides — they were already on some type of psychiatric drug program that was supposed to be treating their "mental illness" yet they killed themselves anyway. Further exact statistics relating to the correlation between psychiatric drugs and suicide will be available on this site soon. Right now, however, the question must be asked: Are these drugs helping our children or are they actually creating the cases of extreme violence and suicide that are becoming more and more common? What are TeenScreen's actual statistics in the places the program has been adopted — are there fewer instances of violence and suicide?

TeenScreen's National GoalTeenScreen’s primary goal is to set up their operations in every school district in the nation in order to reach each 13-16 year old before they have a chance to drop out of school. Their secondary target groups are the juvenile justice systems and runaway homes. They have admitted they are having problems in getting into primary care physicians offices and have that target saved for last.The National Alliance on Mental IllnessColumbia University is not alone in its desire for TeenScreen’s universal acceptance and advance into the schools.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), billed as "the voice of the mentally ill," is collaborating on achieving that goal. NAMI is itself controversial because of extensive funding provided by multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Eli Lilly and others. While NAMI claims to be a grassroots organization created to benefit those diagnosed as mentally ill, its critics claim that NAMI’s main activity is spreading fraudulent information about mental illness and lobbying on behalf of those same pharmaceutical companies — the companies which give NAMI millions in funding every year.

Source: Teenscreen Truth

Well Done to all the Young People at TEENSCREEN TRUTH


Daniel Haszard said...

Well said,i applaud your blog,mental health consumers are the least capable of self advocacy,my doctors made me take zyprexa for 4 years which was ineffective for my symptoms.I now have a victims support page against Eli Lilly for it's Zyprexa product causing my diabetes.--Daniel Haszard

Colette Mengiles said...

Hi Daniel

Thanks for your comments and I hope you win your case. We will be willing to put links to your website and blog, If you wish and if we can help you in anyway please let us know. Repect to you.

CM said...

Thank you very much for passing on the word about the insideous TeenScreen program and information from my website:

Currently there is now a TeenScreen petition that was started by a mom in Indiana whose child was screened without her permission, who came home with two labels of a mental health disorder:

The petition can be printed off and presented by anyone to their own school board members or legislators. The petition
quickly conveys many of the facts about screening so you don't have to explain it.

I implore you to please sign and forward this petition. Our intention is to send it to as many federal and state legislators as possible.

I also have two more websites that may be of interest, one which gives the researched locations of TeenScreen sites, which TeenScreen tries to keep secret:

Thank you again.