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Psy-screening and Mandatory Drugs for Everyone? The Genesis of President Bush’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health

By Sue Weibert  Posted by Rob Kall (about the submitter)     Permalink       (Page 3 of 5 pages)
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Pushing the NFC Recommendations

Rabin Strategic Partners, Inc., one of TeenScreen 's hired PR companies, put together a key publication called, "Catch Them Before They Fall; How to Implement Mental Health Screening Programs for Youth as Recommended by the President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health ". Hogan and Flynn 's intention on mental health screening becomes clear in the "Forward " of this publication, where it is stated, "It will take the effort of people like you to make mental health screenings for youth as commonplace as other preventive health efforts like hearing and vision screenings. " When states were slow in coming up with their own mental health action plans, per the NFC recommendations, TeenScreen decided a little push was needed. So along with Rabin, they sent out that publication and a copy of a "model resolution" that they wrote, to key players in all the states. Of course, TeenScreen was mentioned in that model resolution.

Flynn was quoted at that 2004 AACAP Meeting as saying, "One of the things that we did was to mail a copy of our report "Catch Them Before They Fall" and we mailed a model resolution, ahh, to all the 50 states, we sent this as a very friendly, 'Here's some information you might like to use since you're on a health committee ' we mailed it only to people who were in key committees 'you might like to have this resolution, to introduce the notion that every child should be screened for mental illness, at least once in their youth, in order to identify mental illness and prevent suicide. ' So we offered them up some language and some tools, and a surprising number of folks, in fact, introduced it exactly the way we sent it and made some real strides with it."
TeenScreen now had their program specifically mentioned in individual state mental health resolutions. States could then apply for federal funding and begin the task of expanding TeenScreen's goal to screen every child for mental illness.

The Pharmaceutical Industry

The pharmaceutical companies are positioned to gain billions in profit from TMAP and TeenScreen. Naturally, they have been ready and able to help with funding every step of the way. Who else would be in a better position to 'help all those poor children ' that were now labeled with so-called "disorders " by TeenScreen? Who else had medications, at the ready, per TMAP recommendations? The NFC recommendations opened the door for the pharmaceutical industry.

Eli Lilly was quick to recognize the efforts of Mike Hogan by announcing the winners of their "2004 Helping Move Lives Forward Reintegration Awards. " First-place winners received a $5,000 cash contribution "to their respective institutions to further the success of their programs. " Lilly 's press release announced: "A First Place Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Michael Hogan, PhD, chair of President Bush's New Freedom Commission on Mental Illness ...Dr. Hogan has [since] delivered over 75 presentations urging for the implementation of goals set forth in the Commission's Report. "

In looking over some of those "75 presentations, " it was found that these conferences were heavily funded by the pharmaceutical industry, who also traditionally pay for the keynote speaker. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and NASMHPD were heavy contributors as well.

Ohio 's Mental Health System under Hogan Will the entire U.S follow?
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What is Hogan 's personal stance on mental health screening? He would have preferred universal mental health screenings for the population, but he acknowledged that "science and public opinion" have not advanced to the point where universal mental health screening is acceptable. Hogan has expressed his frustration that implementations of the NFC recommendations have not proceeded faster. He conceded that "we in the field, would have an easier time convincing the public of the need for at least broader, if not universal, screening if the CMHS (Center for Mental Health Services) had published the NFC Action Plan that has been delayed. " CMHS is the federal agency within the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) that is charged with the efforts to implement the recommendations of the NFC.

The following two stories indicate what has happened in Ohio under Hogan 's watch and what might happen in other states if Hogan, Flynn, NAMI and the drug companies achieve their aims.

Drugging Babies in Ohio

In a Columbus Dispatch article dated April 25, 2005, the headlines read, "EVEN BABIES GETTING TREATED AS MENTALLY ILL; Prescriptions on the rise even though they haven't been tested on children ".

The Dispatch reported, "Nearly 40,000 Ohio children on Medicaid were taking drugs for anxiety, depression, delusions, hyperactivity and violent behavior as of July [2004]. For the entire year, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services paid out about $65.5 million for kids' mental-health drugs. " They also reported that 696 Ohio children, ages newborn to 3 years old, received sedatives and powerful, mood-altering, mental-health drugs through Medicaid in July of 2004.
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Valid research shows that ages 0-3 are the most critical years for the development of children. Combine that data with the recent FDA black box warnings on these drugs that list the physical side effects ranging from headaches, nausea and weight gain to heart attacks, liver damage, suicidal ideations and sudden death.

Hogan 's views on all this? The Dispatch reports, "The biggest public-health crisis facing the state and nation is the number of children with mental illness who fail to receive any care or treatment," said Michael Hogan, director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health. "It's true children are more likely to get medication than counseling or other behavioral therapy if they go to their pediatrician or family doctor. But at the end of the day, meds are quite safe and effective."

Medicaid Funding Crisis in Ohio

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...before saying, writing, or posting anything "ag... by Charlie L on Thursday, Dec 15, 2005 at 11:18:03 AM
Reading news like this makes me think even more ho... by terri Kionka on Thursday, Dec 15, 2005 at 8:11:42 PM
Democrats are not going to do ANYTHING. They are ... by Gary Goodman on Tuesday, Dec 20, 2005 at 12:41:38 AM