News & Viewpoints
We Can Do Without TeenScreen
"It's about hoping, it's about dreaming, it's about never not believing. It's about taking a walk out on the wall, and....never looking down. It's about living, instead of dying, it's about spreading your wings and...flying. It's all about trying." - Pam Tillis, Country Music Superstar
I think it goes without saying that the last thing we want children to do is stop trying. This is especially true given the stark reality that far too many children these days possess an unhealthy sense of entitlement. Not to mention, they have an insatiable urge to seek instant gratification no matter the consequence.
As parents, we own a duty to insist that children do their best. We must show them how to work towards the proverbial "stars." Think about it. Even if children do not make it to the stars, at least being half way there, is a lot farther than they ever would have been if they only worked towards satisfying low expectations.
So, yes. It's all about trying.
We can do so much within our power to raise children with a proper sense of vision. Raising children to be at least semi-normal takes plenty of hard work and dedication. We can ensure that children live a life full of good mental health. This often takes making an effort to be aware of bad mental health programs/ideas within our culture.
Certainly, there are things that children - especially those in middle school and high school - should live without. Low frustration levels. Low resistance to peer pressure. High regard for the easy way out. High regard for bashing this great country of ours.
Let us not forget to mention something else that children and their parents can do without.
It's a child suicide screening initiative that goes by the slick name of - TeenScreen.
TeenScreen claims it is needed to screen middle school/high school students so potential suicides can be prevented. But then again, what can we really believe that comes out of Columbia University anymore? If you can allow the President of Iran to speak at a once honorable institution, the chances are quite good you're lying about what TeenScreen does. No, TeenScreen does not prevent suicide. In fact, it turns normal to semi-normal children into mental health patients. Yeah, right. This is just what we need more of!
TeenScreen operates in 43 states, and at 450 locations. Mostly middle schools and high schools. These children are fresh meat for those who want to provide more young minds with more psychiatric labels and drugs. TeenScreen is a multi-level process that does not simply end after a young student takes a computerized ten minute questionnaire.
God help us all if this is the working standard of psychiatry today.
Well, if hacks at Kaiser Permanente Behavioral Health think that they can properly diagnosis someone as mentally ill in six minutes, I suppose anything is possible.
Now, if certain responses are received, students are referred for mental health services. Mental health services that you know damn well include psychiatric drugs. I mean, what else do mental health services have to offer these days other than - drugs? Parental consent here is a scam, and you must know something is wrong about TeenScreen since NAMI thinks there are so many things right about it.
Interestingly, and what seems to fuel support for scams like TeenScreen, are lies concerning the number of "youth" who are either suicidal or have other mental health issues. It seems the percentage changes daily. Perhaps it depends on where you get your news. It's safe to say that the average accepted lie is that 20 percent of America's youth could be defined as having a mental disorder. To make matters worse, there is a second lie. And that lie goes like this - only 20 percent of all youth who can be "identified" as mentally ill receive mental health services.
Sorry, but I think that number is a lot higher. Consider all the children in this country who are on drugs and forced into therapy. In some school districts, I wouldn't doubt that half the student body are improperly drugged, labeled as mentally ill. All the while, we are led down the slippery slope of this "pill for every ill" mind-set in an alleged effort to quell the alleged epidemic of youth suicide. Talk therapy - yes. Psychiatric drugs and labels for growing brains - no.
We must do something hard and fast to prevent programs like TeenScreen from entering even more states and locations. Shouldn't we wonder why they operate so secretively? Shouldn't we wonder why so many folks on their advisory board have ties to Big Pharma? Shouldn't we wonder why so many of the organizations that support TeenScreen directly benefit from its referral system?
So many contradictions. So many questions. So many platitudes.
Life is all about allowing your children to spread their wings and fly. It's also all about knowing things they should stay away from. After all, they're your children, and YOU know their mental health better than any other weasel who claims to be a "mental health professional."
We can do without TeenScreen.
September 30, 2007 Zizza is a freelance writer who lives in Atlanta, GA. He writes frequently about mental health issues and popular culture. Reach him via email: firstname.lastname@example.org