Big Brother is on the march. A plan to subject all children to mental
screening is underway, and the pharmaceuticals are gearing up for
sales of psychotropic drugs.
Like most liberal big-spending ideas, this one was slipped into the law
under cover of soft semantics. Its genesis was the New Freedom
Mental Health (NFCMH) created by President George W. Bush in 2002.
The NFCMH recommends "routine and comprehensive" testing and mental
screening for every child in America, including preschoolers.
has instructed 25 federal agencies to develop a plan to implement the
The NFCMH proposes utilizing electronic medical records for mental
interrogation of both children and adults for mental illnesses in
during routine physical exams. The NFCMH also recommends integrating
electronic health records and personal health information systems.
The NFCMH recommends "linkage" of these mental examinations with
"state-of-the-art treatments" using "specific medications for specific
conditions." That means prescribing more expensive patented
and antipsychotic drugs.
Illinois became the first state to jump on board. By near-unanimous
2003, the Legislature passed the $10 million Illinois Children's Mental
Health Act creating a Children's Mental Health Partnership (ICMHP),
expected to become a model for other states.
The ICMHP's plan, released on July 16, calls for periodic social and
emotional developmental examinations to be administered to all
for all women to be interrogated for depression during pregnancy and
up to a
year postpartum. When the ICMHP showcased this plan with five public
hearings stacked with bureaucrats and social service workers, a
tempest erupted, with state legislators saying they had no idea this
what they had voted for.
Illinois legislators were shocked to hear the details. The plan
periodic developmental exams for children ages 0-18 years, a statewide
data-reporting system to track information on each person,
development screens with all mandated school exams (K, 4th, and 9th),
report cards on children's social-emotional development.
The plan is to add mental health assessment to the state's physical
examination certificate, along with mandatory immunization records. All
children in Illinois, unless religiously exempt, are required to have
up-to-date health examinations and immunizations for school entry.
The ICMHP requires the Illinois State Board of Education to develop and
implement a plan that incorporates social and emotional standards as
the mandated Illinois Learning Standards, which are due on the
desk by December 31, 2004. This inevitably opens up screening for
politically incorrect attitudes and non-conformity with liberal
Mental health diagnoses are inherently subjective and social
as even the diagnostic manuals admit. Many thousands if not millions of
children would receive stigmatizing diagnoses that would follow them
rest of their lives.
"State-of-the-art treatments" will result in many thousands of children
being medicated by expensive, ineffective, and dangerous drugs. The
long-term safety and effectiveness of psychiatric medications on
have never been proven.
The side effects of suggested medications in children are severe. They
include suicide, violence, psychosis, cardiac toxicity, and growth
suppression. Several school shooters, such as Eric Harris (Columbine)
Kip Kinkel (Oregon) had been on antidepressants or stimulants when they
committed their crimes.
The validity of much scientific research has lost its credibility
the Food and Drug Administration has allowed the pharmaceutical
withhold data not favorable to their products and because persons in
of the pharmaceuticals are the ones recommending the medications.
The current controversy about links between suicide and antidepressant
that have not been adequately tested has contributed to the uproar.
posted an analysis in August that some antidepressants pose a risk of
suicide in children.
Parental rights are unclear or non-existent under these mental
programs. What are the rights of youth and parents to refuse or opt
Will they face coercion and threats of removal from school, or child
charges, if they refuse privacy-invading interrogations or unproved
medications? How will a child remove a stigmatizing label from his
A Columbia University pilot project of screening students called
resulted in one-third being flagged as "positive" for mental health
problems, and half of those being turned over for mental health
If this is preview of what would happen when 52 million public school
students are screened, it would mean hanging a libelous label on 17
American children and putting 8 million children into the hands of the
Phyllis Schlafly's new book The Supremacists: The Tyranny of Judges
to Stop It is now available!
Order online at 50% off retail price:
Read this column online. Eagle Forum
PO Box 618
Alton, IL 62002