Teen Screen underlies the scheme to screen every American of any age for mental illness. It has its horrors, for the result of the screening is most often a prescription for mind-altering psychiatric drugs.
But a new horror surfaces. Teen Screen and its counterparts are signs of our country moving from cause to effect. "Cause" would mean creating life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness by positive thought and action. In other words, you make things happen. "Effect" would be having others create and control your life for you, with little liberty or happiness. In other words, things happen to you, you don't make them happen.
Let us go back a century and look at Abraham Lincoln. He was poor and underprivileged; had to walk miles to school. Check your history books. They wrote often about his "melancholy." Look at his sad face. His ambitions and incredible desire to learn might have also earned the title of "obsessive-compulsive personality." Certainly Lincoln would have been labeled "depressed" by modern day psychiatrists and given antidepressants or other mind-altering drugs.
TeenScreen gets cooperation by the use of a shocking word - suicide.
Teens are asked probing, personal questions supposedly designed to root out any signs of depression. TeenScreen questions don't screen for abilities or causation. They are all "effect" questions. "Has there been a time when you felt you couldn't do anything well or that you weren't as good-looking or as smart as other people?" "Have you often felt very nervous when you've had to do things in front of people?" "How often did your parents get annoyed or upset with you because of the way you were feeling or acting?"
Commonplace is being cruel to a sibling; disrespectful to a parent; cheating at school, not doing homework, lying, and being promiscuous, even trying drugs. These things add up to lowered self esteem, stress, and depression but in today's world are never addressed. Taking a pill will not cure one's causation, responsibility or lack of it. Medicating our youth can only further lower their causation.
Teen Screen addresses feelings and attitudes, not the causative factor of the individual. Worse, it puts forward an "excuse" for failure and unhappiness. Today's ads on television communicate "take this pill to be happy." Kids are "told" they are the chemical responses in their brains and if they just take a drug, they will be happy and do well.
This is a lie! We all know it. Our country was built on causation, on people rising above their ailments, their feelings, their inadequacies because they had a dream, because they believed in something. They were busy creating a better tomorrow, a better life for themselves and their offspring.
Counseling, before the advent of psychiatry, was done mainly through churches. Ministers often directed individuals to look at their lives, what they were doing that was wrong in some fashion and change it. Prayer, repentance and penance were some of their methods. These methods worked by addressing the causation of the individual.
Teen Screen asks "what inadequacy you feel you have?" It further MAKES the teen inadequate by sending him or her to a psychiatrist who prescribes a pill that further lowers ability. Drugs lower perception and ability. Don't believe me read the adverse effects on the labels: decreased sexual interest, feeling sick and anxious, difficulty in remembering, confusion, insomnia, indigestion, diarrhea, tremor, and drowsiness.
No Edison, Mendelsohn or Itzhak Perlman - a man disabled and crippled with plenty of reasons for failure - will come from those "helped" by psychiatric medications.
If I had my way, I would screen kids for abilities, for dreams and ambitions. Then I would help each one to achieve them. You can hardly stop a man who has a dream and works toward it. There are countless stories in history to make man proud of those who achieved wonders despite a poor upbringing or some feeling of inadequacy or momentary depression.