Federal Funding for Mental Health Screening of Kids
Ron Paul MD, June 28 ’05
On Friday Congress defeated an amendment I introduced that would have prevented the federal government from moving forward with an Orwellian program to mandate mental health screening of kids in schools. This program, recommended by a presidential commission, has not yet been established at the federal level…
One meaning of the term Orwellian is:
“Manipulation of language for political ends. Most significantly by introducing to words meanings in opposition to their denotative meanings..”
You know, like using the word freedom to refer to a program that undermines parental responsibility for their children’s health, that empowers the U.S. federal government to use public schools to screen children for psychological illness, that might end up placing the decision for prescribing mind-altering drugs in the hands of government officials.
These liars call that “freedom” because it’s NOT. Get it? It’s easier to sell that way.
New Freedom Initiative and New Freedom Commission on Mental Health
The New Freedom Initiative is a comprehensive strategy for the full integration of people with disabilities into all aspects of American life.
By infringing on personal freedoms and constitutional rights, e.g. by enforcing the ADA. Includes re-education for businesses and other massive social engineering plans that are inappropriate to a “conservative” regime. I think “full integration” may be an appropriate goal for some individuals who may not want to be in institutions, who have or receive private funds and assistance from generous individuals. But to re-engineer the society with public funds is not an appropriate goal for any government that isn’t Stalinist. But I guess that’s what they want to be – Stalinist.
Presidential commissions established by Executive Orders – the Commission on Excellence in Special Education and the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health – have now completed their work and have issued reports and recommendations that will inform future policy development.
President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health is introduced here
On April 29, 2002, the President issued Executive Order 13263 establishing the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health…
In July 2003, the Commission issued its recommendations in a final report entitled Achieving the Promise, Transforming Mental Health Care in America. See http://www.mentalhealthcommission.gov/reports/reports.htm.
The six recommendations include:
4) early mental health screening, assessment, and referral to services are common practice;
The scope of U.S. government involvement is enormous:
At the same time, the coordinated efforts of more than 25 Federal agencies must undergird and reinforce the states’ processes. Every adult with a serious mental illness or child with a serious emotional disturbance must have an individualized plan of care coordinating services among programs and across agencies
This proves Bush is definitely NOT a small-government conservative. Why the central planning for this? Let families and their doctors deal with their children’s health. Does the government get involved to this extent in non-mental illnesses? I think we should question their motivations.
The “Promise”? Which promise is that: Aldous Huxley’s or George Orwell’s?
The time has long passed for yet another piecemeal approach to mental health reform. Instead, the Commission recommends a fundamental transformation of the Nation’s approach to mental health care. This transformation must ensure that mental health services and supports actively facilitate recovery, and build resilience to face life’s challenges. Too often, today’s system simply manages symptoms and accepts long-term disability. Building on the principles of the New Freedom Initiative, the recommendations we propose can improve the lives of millions of our fellow citizens now living with mental illnesses. The benefits will be felt across America in families, communities, schools, and workplaces.
Yes, it is a very ambitious fantasy – and a massive power grab.
You can read the bios of commission members here: Roster of Commissioners
I can see at least one of them is connected with the pharmaceutical industry. Many of the rest are government bureaucrats.
Let’s take a look at the scary part:
4.1 Promote the mental health of young children.
4.2 Improve and expand school mental health programs.
4.3 Screen for co-occurring mental and substance use disorders and link with integrated treatment strategies.
4.4 Screen for mental disorders in primary health care, across the life span, and connect to treatment and supports.
I can understand the following idea, but I don’t agree with the government doing it, and I don’t feel confident about whatever techniques they propose to use:
Emerging research indicates that intervening early can interrupt the negative course of some mental illnesses and may, in some cases, lessen long-term disability.
That’s why they should leave it to families and doctors, because parents know the child best and doctors can definitely be better trained in this area – within their profession – to actually detect serious biologically-based mental illness. I don’t see why special business interests or power-hungry bureaucrats should be allowed by parents to intrude into this sensitive area. It’s difficult enough as it is.
For example, research shows that when children with co-existing depression and conduct disorders become adults, they tend to use more health care services and have higher health care costs than other adults.
Notice the use of the term “conduct disorders” as if we should medicalize misbehavior or justified rebelliousness and resistance to authority. This is the language of tyrants.
Currently, no agency or system is clearly responsible or accountable for young people with serious emotional disturbances.
That’s a lie. There is a responsible agency called “parents”.
Because of this important interplay between emotional health and school success, schools must be partners in the mental health care of our children.
Yes, imagine! There are actually still children who fail at school and stop going! Many of us assume that school is doing them some good in the first place and that it is some kind of paradise. Why would kids want to leave unless there was “something wrong with their mental health”, right? But school is not the only place they can learn! Is the point only to keep them in a government-administered and regimented environment? Is that it then? Put the children on drugs to “keep them in school”?
“Our children” says the bureaucrat. He thinks they are his children or collectively “America’s children” or “the U.S. government’s children” more accurately. He wants control over them. He wants their minds – their spirits and souls, their loyalty. But neither the bureaucrat nor the “schools” are qualified to judge the presence of mental illness.
But carry on anyway with “schools”:
Schools are in a key position to identify mental health problems early and to provide a link to appropriate services.
Then they get into their war-on-drugs bit – screening children for substance abuse, because they are so concerned about how many times they may end up going to jail. Maybe it’s not enough!! I guess they want to start them going to jail as soon as possible with an active self-incrimination screening program. Or they can interrogate the children about where they obtained the drugs and put their parents or friends or older brother in jail instead! Less people with psychological problems that way – outside of prison! Oh, but I’m just reading into it. Of course they wouldn’t send anyone to prison or detention centers! They would just “recommend” treatment and force compliance in other ways by threatening to lock people up. It’s all about health, don’t you know? That’s why they are using political terminology “freedom” that evokes images of health (?). Sure, “health” and “freedom” are the same thing – if you twist the English language enough.
Anyway, just to clarify, I’m all in favor of teachers intervening and talking to the students and parents about signs of mental illness and suicidal tendencies. [ACTUALLY I WOULDN’T SAY THIS NOW – SEE NOTE AT BOTTOM.] If there is a serious illness, the parents and the student can decide whether they should see a doctor. And with the doctor, they can decide about the course of treatment and whether it must involve drugs. From my experience, these far-from-perfect anti-psychotic and anti-depressant drugs are the only known option to keep some seriously ill patients functioning and alive. I understand if others might disagree with that opinion and maybe they know better. In any case we need to be vigilant about their side-effects and the doctor needs to respect the patient’s choices and also the parent’s judgment. How can a government program possibly build in the respect for individual choice and parental authority that is necessary in these cases?
So we’re getting a fuller picture here. I don’t believe at all that only seriously mentally ill children will end up drugged because of this “new freedom”:
- Legal drugs are for keeping them in school.
- Illegal drugs get them (or someone they know) sent to prison or treatment programs.
There is some sort of pattern here: Government schools. Illegal substance screening. Treatment programs. Is there some kind of connection or theme? Oh yes, “freedom”. Regimentation, self-incrimination, drug-testing and psychiatric screening make us all think of “freedom”.
From the description of an existing model already in place:
To ensure that all youth are offered a mental health check-up before graduating from high school. TeenScreen® identifies and refers for treatment those who are at risk for suicide or suffer from an untreated mental illness.
And if they go for treatment, will they be counselled for spiritual or lifestyle issues or emotional cause-and-effect or how to deal with life better? No, I don’t think so. In my opinion, their condition will be treated like a physical disease in every case and they will be automatically prescribed psychotropic drugs – in order to supply a larger customer base to the pharmaceutical industry – and a more compliant population to the government.
Will all bad behavior be treated like a mental disorder? There are very sick people who might need these drugs. But for the rest of the kids, it’s just to switch them off. The irresponsible message they want to send children: “There is nothing wrong with the world or your life. You have no reason to be depressed or suicidal. It is just the chemicals in your brain that are out of whack. Everything is ok. Don’t do anything to deal with your problems. Just take a pill.”
The report goes on and on about their plans for cleansing America of mental illness. Read the whole section here.
Note as of 2014. Clarification to points above. I would like to emphasize the dangerous and fraudulent reality behind psychotropic drugs. Please see my later posts, for example, on Robert Whitaker and Peter Breggin. To go even further, see posts on Brave New World and vaccines.