Bulletin #37 Mental Health Assessment 9/13/04
Did you know? Children's mental health will be assessed along with their academic standards in the new proposed testing initiatives. Pregnant and new mothers will also be tested. Federal legislation is calling for this and recently the Illinois State Board of Education has been given the responsibility to develop the appropriate tests and policies to go along with this legislation.
Consider this quote:
"Every child in
Harvard psychiatrist Chester M. Pierce, speaking as an expert in public education at the 1973 International Education Seminar
Even back in 1912, John Dewey, the father of progressive education said the society or group is most important, and that independent individualists have a form of "insanity.” There is a lot of history between then and now, and suffice it to say that this has been brewing for a good long time. Let’s come forward now to our present time.
President George W. Bush signed an Executive Order on June 18, 2001 supporting community-based services and programs for individuals with disabilities. This Executive Order directs key federal agencies to work together and with states to ensure full compliance with the Supreme Court's ruling in the Olmstead case (1999) and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/06/20010619.html The intention of this order was to make sure that persons with disabilities are helped and integrated into society. The fact sheet gives a good background on this executive order http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/06/20010620.html and on its face it probably was well-intentioned. Federal agencies should assist the states to ensure their compliance with the Olmstead decision.
This issue was then taken a step further when an additional
federal government mandate, The New Freedom Initiative, issued on April 29
was directed to improve
Lest you think this is just a partisan issue, please understand that it is not. Both sides of the aisle have had a hand in the steps arriving to this point and it is a fact that in 2001, President George W. Bush worked with U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy to pass the federal "No Child Left Behind" legislation. The No Child Left Behind Act http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/esea02/index.html is already carrying forward the ideas of expanding mental health in the schools and early identification. Here is just one excerpt from NCLB legislation: http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/esea02/pg79.html
(a) AUTHORIZATION- The Secretary is authorized to award grants to, or enter into contracts or cooperative agreements with, State educational agencies, local educational agencies, or Indian tribes, for the purpose of increasing student access to quality mental health care by developing innovative programs to link local school systems with the local mental health system.
Consider the Surgeon General’s report which came out of the
This report says that about 20% (one of five) of Americans younger than 18 has a diagnosable mental disorder, and 10% have serious, impairing mental illnesses. It further states that fewer than 20% of them receive treatment. It says that children are just about as likely as adults to have mental illness, but much less is known about childhood disorders and safe, effective treatments for them. So according to this it means that if we all looked around at 5 children surrounding us, would we say that one of them must have a mental disorder. !! http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/mentalhealth/chapter3/sec1.html (Table 3-1) and http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/mentalhealth/chapter3/conc3.html
We all know that NCLB includes provisions for expanding school-based mental health programs. This also fits with the report of The New Freedom in Mental Health Commission, which stressed that "schools must be partners in the mental health care of our children." http://www.mentalhealthcommission.gov/reports/FinalReport/FullReport-05.htm
The Commission’s vision statement reads as follows:
We envision a future when everyone with a mental illness will recover, a future when mental illnesses can be prevented or cured, a future when mental illnesses are detected early, and a future when everyone with a mental illness at any stage of life has access to effective treatment and supports - essentials for living, working, learning, and participating fully in the community. http://www.mentalhealthcommission.gov/reports/Finalreport/FullReport.htm
If you read the New Freedom Commission’s goals and recommendations you will see on pages 58-61 http://www.mentalhealthcommission.gov/reports/FinalReport/downloads/FinalReport.pdf
discuss these key points among others:
1. “Screen for mental disorders in primary health care, across the life span, and connect to treatment and supports.”
2. “Schools are in a key position to identify mental health problems early and to provide a link to appropriate services… (because) almost one-fifth of the population passes through the Nation’s schools on any given weekday.”
3. “Quality screening and early intervention should occur in readily accessible, low-stigma settings such as primary health care facilities and schools…”
4. Recommendation of early intervention
programs such as the ” Nurse-Family Partnership…. a nurse visits the homes of
high-risk women when pregnancy begins, and continues for the first year of the
child’s life.” There is also the
Columbia University TeenScreen® Program. Teenscreen works by creating
partnerships with schools and communities and helping them to implement their
own screening programs to identify at-risk teens and pre-teens. The program is
now used in high schools and other settings in 26 states. It was developed
under the leadership of David Shaffer, M.D., the Director of the
The stated goal is to build a coordinated system of prevention, early intervention and treatment for children and their families through schools, communities and health care agencies.
As a result many states have plans in the works to implement
aspects of this initiative, and
It was passed in the Illinois General Assembly last
spring. It was sponsored in the Illinois
House by State Representatives Julie Hamos (D-Evanston) and Patricia Bellock
(R-Westmont). State Senator Maggie Crotty (
A report in the Illinois Leader stated that the mental health legislation will help develop a mental health system for "all children ages 0-18 years," provide for screening to "ensure appropriate and culturally relevant assessment of young children's social and emotional development with the use of standardized tools." Also, all pregnant women will be screened for depression and thereafter following her baby's birth, up to one year. Follow-up treatment services will also be provided. One only has to look at the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority Website to see what is coming with regard to the Mental Health Partnership. http://www.ivpa.org/childrensmhtf/ and their specific 56 page final task force report http://www.ivpa.org/childrensmhtf/pdf/ICMHTF_FinalReport2003_1.pdf
In all of this, other states are following suit. You can check if your state is included in the New Freedom Commission on mental health state implementation activities by viewing http://www.nasmhpd.org/general_files/State%20table5.pdf and you also ought to speak to your local state representative to find out what is on the docket with regard to this important issue.
If this sounds a bit Orwellian or to you , consider that you
are not alone in your thinking and many people are already protesting this
vehemently, and there are lots of articles being written on this subject.
NHELD firmly believes that we cannot let
mandatory mental health testing happen in any state and we must hope that the
How does it affect homeschoolers? If first born and parents are screened, who is to say that the government funded mental health care provider will not determine that the parent is mentally unstable or deficient such that the parent is not competent to homeschool, or that such a parent must comply with government directives in order to homeschool? It is not a stretch to think that this is possible, because some state government regulations already prevent foster parents from homeschooling their children.
Regarding opting out – if the government declares that a parent is mentally unstable or deficient, then the government has a ready made reasonable argument that the parent is not competent to opt out of any services for the parent or for the child.
Throughout all of this legislation cited, there is one key
factor – all of the legislation applies to entities receiving FEDERAL
FUNDING. Again, this is yet one more
example of how the federal government “regulates” or utilizes its governmental
“power” even though the U.S. Constitution grants to the federal government
limited “powers”. Remember, the Tenth
Amendment – those powers not delegated specifically to the
If the screening becomes part of the curriculum of the public schools, and if the public schools, under state law or federal law, are in charge of “approving” the homeschool program for your child, the public school easily could withhold “approval” of the homeschool program unless the homeschool parent complies with the screening.
Some other things to consider:
-Understand this issue and read all that you can about it. Also understand that this is NOT a partisan issue, and is being supported by both sides of the aisle in Congress and in our state legislatures.
-There have been more and more reports about how mental illness is really a problem. However, we should examine it further to see if indeed it really is a problem, or if it is being fabricated. Consider who is to gain by making this a national issue. The American Psychological Association, and their legion of psychologists stand to gain, as do corporations, pharmaceutical companies, testing companies and researchers.
-Unqualified persons will be doing testing and reporting and one can readily see this by viewing some of the websites of companies selling the "tools" to do the testing. One such testing tool is the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children - which was developed by the scientists at NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health)
With training fees of $300 to $1000 per day per person to learn how to administer this it would seem this would be a big moneymaker, especially if law mandates it. They have a whole laundry list of disorders that they test for. http://www.promotementalhealth.org/downloads/DISC%20Brochure.pdf
- The bigger issue is what is normal? Is there a normal for
everyone? Who defines that
"normal" standard? Will it be
o.k. to get angry, be sad, have an outburst, be belligerent? Will control of our lives and thoughts be
accomplished not just through coercion (as in Hitler's time) but now through
mass medication? What right does the
state have to decide what is mentally right for any person? As an
-Some provisions which require parental consent or other opt
out procedures may in fact be meaningless and you need to check any legislation
for these provisions. In the Illinois
Children's Privacy Protection and Parental Empowerment Act, Jan 2004, there is a provision that says any
governmental agencies are exempt from information brokering and they may use
that as a back door to get around rules governing those activities. Additionally, If your local mental health
screening program is approved
by the Board of Education as part of the educational program, you are not required to get active parental consent
under Protection of Pupil Rights Act (PPRA, http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/20/1232h.html and http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ppra/index.html). If the screening will be given to all students, as opposed to some, it becomes part of the curriculum and no longer requires active parental consent!
Meanwhile in the Senate - people like Ted Kennedy have been stalling legislation that would Support the Child Medication Act (SB 1390) http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d108:s.01390:
Sam Blumenfeld also penned an excellent article, Should the Government Force Drugs on Kids? November 15, 2003 about this http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=35623
We ought to be contacting our Congressional representatives and demand that funding be cut off from the New Freedom Commission that is seeking $20 million in funding for their "State Grants for Transformation" program, which is currently in the House Labor/HHS appropriations bill, HC292.
Congressman Ron Paul is also trying to keep the drug companies, politicians and federal bureaucrats from becoming parents to your children. Dr. Paul introduced an amendment to the Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations Act for FY 2005 (http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d108:h.r.05006:) that will withhold funds for this new federal mental-health-screening program. He urged his congressional colleagues to support his efforts http://www.thelibertycommittee.org/update09.07.04.htm September 7, 2004, but unfortunately the amendment was voted down and you might be interested to know how your State Representative voted http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2004/roll438.xml
We must also contact Congress to fight off legislation proposed by Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) HR3063, Children's Mental Health Screening and Prevention Act of 2003 (Introduced in House)
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d108:h.r.03063: Which authorizes the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Secretary of Education, and the Attorney General to make 10 grants to demonstration facilities to implement evidence-based preventive-screening tools to detect mental illness and suicidal tendencies in school-age youth at selected facilities.
Dr. Karen R. Effrem, is a physician and leading opponent of
mandatory screening. She said,
“Universal mental health screening and the drugging of children, as recommended
by the New Freedom Commission [presidential commission], needs to be stopped so
that many thousands if not millions of children will be saved from receiving
stigmatizing diagnoses that would follow them for the rest of their
Much has been written about the Federal legislation as well
Many articles can be found here at: http://www.antidepressantsfacts.com/articles-b.htm
The Millions Of Children Labeled
Testimony before the Australian
Parliament Wednesday, June 30, 2004
The British equivalent of the FDA banned the use of all of
the newer SSRI antidepressant drugs except Prozac in children under 18 (http://www.icspp.org/media/drugsfor.htm)
after finding that the pharmaceutical companies had withheld data showing an increased
risk of suicide in children taking the medications for more than 7
years, as well as not publishing studies showing no improvement for children on
ALERT: Mental-health screening of children, 9/7/2004 http://www.thelibertycommittee.org/update09.07.04.htm
WorldNetDaily.com June 21, 2004 Bush To Screen population For Mental Illness
Mental Health in Schools from
the Training and
Psychology guidelines for CT Schools
The Passionate Investments of Irving B. Harris (corporate interests)
Dr. Dennis Cuddy - Mental Health , Education and Social Control, Au 28, 2004
F.D.A. Links Drugs to Being Suicidal – NY Times 09/14/2004
Forcing Kids Into a Mental Health Ghetto, Ron Paul, September 13, 2004
Other website with information:
Attorney Deborah Stevenson - Executive Director of National Home Education Legal Defense. –
Judy Aron - Director of Research, NHELD – firstname.lastname@example.org