A ridiculous mental health initiative was unveiled by President Bush in July 2004, after being established in 2002. The plan promises to integrate mentally ill patients fully into the community by providing "services in the community, rather than institutions- according to a March 2004 progress report entitled, 'New Freedom Commission on Mental health', Executive Order 13263. It is a federal action agenda that is being initiated.
Bush established the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health in April 2002 to conduct a comprehensive study of the United States mental health service delivery system, so he told the public. This includes over 50 million children targeted for mental health screening in over 100,000 schools in the United States.
The American Psychiatric Association (APA), which has an overt affinity for pharmaceutical industry funds, supports this Commission. In fact, the Bush administration was very appreciative of the efforts of the APA to suppress mass media coverage of facts and stories raised by others exposing plans to screen others for mental illness.
The 15 person commission issued its recommendations in July 2003. Included in this commission is the aggressive mental health screening of children performed by TeenScreen, which is in partnership with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
TeenScreen is unnecessary, because there is already an existing structure for screening and labeling children as part of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Furthermore, due to rapid developmental changes with children, it is very difficult to accurately diagnose these children.
TeenScreen clearly is simply a government sponsored market expander for those in the pharmaceutical industry who market psychotropic drugs. SSRIs, a frequently prescribed class of medications, generates close to 200 million prescriptions in the United States that approaches a cost of 20 billion dollars a year.
On TeenScreen's own website, it states that it believes any funding from pharmaceutical companies could create the appearance of a possible inducement to recommend treatment, yet TeenScreen does not prohibit funds from drug companies.
Medicaid is the largest payer of mental health services - 1 out of every 5 dollars spent by Medicaid goes to psychotropic drugs. Nearly 3 million children are receiving more than one psychotropic drug at one time without merit or efficacy provided by these drugs, overall. The cost is on average over 100 dollars a month for each child for these drugs.
Mental health screening programs have never been proven to prevent suicide, the apex of TeenScreen, according to the organization. The Commission chose to have TeenScreen assess children at public schools because these school districts get more money for every student that is labeled mentally ill or disabled.
The US Preventative Special Task Force, sponsored by the Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services, stated in 2004 that there is no evidence that mental health screening for suicide risk reduces suicide attempts or mortality. Presently, this task force now supports TeenScreen. Why they do now is unknown.
Those who lead TeenScreen contradict themselves. Leslie McGuire, TeenScreen's director, and formerly a leader at NAMI, stated that TeenScreen was not affiliated with or funded by drug companies. She also stated that TeenScreen does not involve treatment and does not recommend or endorse any particular kind of treatment for the youth who are identified by them as at risk by their screenings.
Her Co-Director, Llaurie Flinn, however, stated that treatment is the long term goal for TeenScreen.
Some insist on the truth, and others avoid the truth.
After getting passive consent from the parents of the children TeenScreen desires to screen, TeenScreen asks a series of questions to children that they believe will indicate mental disorders - with the focus being those children who are potentially suicidal, completely disregarding the fact that a score on a rating scale alone is not sufficient to diagnose such mental illnesses as depression.
The number of positive responses from the questions answered by the children will determine by TeenScreen if mental illness exists. However, a score is positive if a child refuses to answer any of the questions given to them by TeenScreen. The positive indications are catalysts for referrals of children for treatment. Yet TeenScreen does not disclose where these children are sent for treatment to anyone.