A.S.P.I.R.E. Opposes Mandatory Mental Health Screening
ASPIRE is fully informed on the report from the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health (July 2003) urging the screening of school children in all 50 states to ensure that all youth receive a mental health check-up before graduating.
We are also aware that the New Freedom Commission recommended a drug treatment program for those children who do not pass the screening – a program based on the Texas Medication Algorithm Project (TMAP), which requires doctors to prescribe specific psychiatric drugs, including atypical anti-psychotics and antidepressants known as the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors [SSRIs].
ASPIRE is opposed to TeenScreen® and any other program that would require mandatory mental health screening for children of any age for the following reasons:
1. We view mandated mental health screening as an uninvited and unwarranted government intervention in family life.
2. Suggested testing protocols are vague, intrusive and subjective. There are no scientifically validated tests for any of the conditions for which the screening is designed to detect. A child could easily be misdiagnosed and subsequently suffer from the resultant label and/or treatment following an incorrect diagnosis.
3. Schools are not medical facilities, nor should they be. Serious consequences may result from improper diagnoses and treatment.
4. We have studied the suggested treatment protocol offered by the New Freedom Commission – TMAP, and the treatment algorithms meticulously, and we find no evidence that parental choice in treatment options has been even vaguely considered. TMAP supports the use of drug treatment for children suffering mental, emotional and behavioral problems, and the majority of drugs listed within the TMAP schedule have either not been approved for use in children, or they pose possible serious health hazards for children.
5. We have studied the scientific literature and the clinical trial data which has been released on a number of the suggested drugs in the TMAP formulary, and we find that the benefit to children does not exceed the possible risk to our children’s health.
6. We have found conflicts of interest exist between the developers of TeenScreen and the pharmaceutical industry. Furthermore, we have found evidence of TeenScreen’s attempt to usurp the rights granted by the PPRA (Pupil’s Protection Rights Amendment).
7. Finally, mental health screening has been shown to be useless in preventing suicide.
We value parental rights and the sanctity of the family. We also believe in the proper role of government – but we do not believe that government should infringe upon a parent’s role in determining when their child should seek assistance for mental, emotional and behavioral concerns.
Cassandra Dawn Casey
The Alliance to Stop Psychiatry's Influence in Religion & Education
3218 Davencourt Circle Lehi Utah 84043 801.768.1748
Our mission, beyond exposing psychiatry's lies,
betrayals, vested interests and criminality,
is to offer healthful, healing
acceptable and effective solutions
for those in need of assistance
with challenging emotional and mental health problems