Other Public Commentary
TEENSCREEN SHUNS MEDICAL SCIENCE
Intro: TeenScreen clearly shuns standard medical care in favor of the psychiatric model of brain disorders and chemical imbalances though these have never been scientifically proven.
TeenScreen is a �mental health� screening system. Using a computer program, teenagers are asked questions to root out the symptoms of �mental illness.� Those students giving the right (or wrong) answers to the questions are then delivered to persons trained to spot psychiatric �disorders,� usually employees of a local �mental health� treatment facility.
TeenScreen claims to be funded mainly by private foundations, the identities of which are carefully kept secret. For reasons that might be made clear if only their identities were known, the hidden supporters of TeenScreen are in favor of widespread mental health screening and referral to treatment. TeenScreen�s critics claim that the operation is nothing but a slick marketing tool designed to bring new customers into the multi-billion-dollar psychiatric �mental health� industry. Whatever the reasons for screening, there is no doubt that TeenScreen and all other screening programs are good for business, and could potentially deliver hundreds of millions in profit to the makers of psychiatric drugs.
David Shaffer, TeenScreen�s author, recently refused to appear in a public forum to present TeenScreen and answer the public�s questions. TeenScreen executives Laurie Flynn and Leslie McGuire earn their pay singing the praises of TeenScreen at every opportunity yet refuse to honestly address the serious questions and controversy.
TeenScreen officials attempt to distance themselves from any connection with treatment, claiming that their responsibility ends with flagging those who admit to having certain symptoms. Yet, TeenScreen is intimately connected to treatment of those testing positive. Each TeenScreen site is partnered with a local mental health treatment provider. Only �mental health� facilities are permitted as TeenScreen�s partner. Standard medical care is excluded, as are nutritionists, allergists, tutors and any form of religious counseling.
The shunning of all other forms of treatment is significant and telling in light of the fact that the exact symptoms that TeenScreen labels �mental illness� are known to be caused by genuine, verifiable physical illness and other factors, not subjective psychiatric �disorders.� TeenScreen needs to confront and answer the question of why they ignore true, accepted medical science and forward the agenda of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and pharmaceutical companies. At least one TeenScreen site openly accepted money from Eli Lilly Corporation, a drug company which makes billions from the sale of psychiatric drugs for children. Signs of Suicide, another mental health screening outfit using the same screening instrument as TeenScreen, has openly accepted millions in funding from drug companies to implement their program.
Mental Illness versus Medical Illness
TeenScreen does not specifically look for illness; they look for a certain list of symptoms. These are generally feelings, emotions, behaviors or physical sensations, highly subjective in nature. The purpose of the screening instruments is to find out if a teen will admit to any one of a long list of these symptoms that the APA defines as �mental illness.�
These symptoms can be very real and even disturbing. No one is denying that the symptoms exist. The question is what causes the symptoms and what can or should be done about it. Some of the symptoms certainly fall into the category of �normal teenage angst� though TeenScreen does not have a diagnosis category for that. TeenScreen�s positive results always lead toward specific psychiatric �mental disorders,� like Depression Disorder or Anxiety Disorder. If a teen answers yes to a question like �has there been a time when you felt you couldn�t do anything well or that you weren�t as good-looking or smart as other people?,� he or she will be flagged as a potential case of �depression� and carted off to a psychologist, psychiatrist or social worker for the diagnosis. Though no objective medical or laboratory testing can prove its existence, that diagnostic label, may be applied to that child for his entire life.
TeenScreen�s scheme is evident when you come to understand that the symptoms called �depression� in psychiatry have different diagnoses and causes in the field of medical science. On its own website, the American Psychiatric Association states the following "Also, a medical condition (e.g., a brain tumor or vitamin deficiency) can cause depression, so it is important to be evaluated... to rule out general medical causes." Why then can millions be diagnosed without benefit of proper medical evaluation?
These are the symptoms of �depression� from the APA�s documents entitled "Lets Talk Facts About Depression":
Each one of the above symptoms of "depression" can also be found listed as a symptom for known physical illnesses, other conditions and/or reactions to drugs by the National Institutes of Health or its references: Medline Plus, US National Library of Medicine, etc.
For example, lead poisoning is known to cause the following symptoms:
If a child with lead poisoning were screened, and answered yes to �has there been a time when you had less energy than you usually do?,� or any question related to irritability, insomnia, or difficulty thinking, he would likely test positive for �depression.� Once screened, he will be forwarded on to the psychiatrist who will officially diagnose him with �depression� and prescribe treatment. As statistics show that as many as 9 out of 10 children are given drugs as treatment after being labeled; this child would likely be given drugs for his "mental disease." His real problem is lead poisoning, and because his symptoms are covered up with dangerous, mind-altering drugs, the true cause is never addressed. According to the data from the US Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health and Medline Plus, lead poisoning can increase if not addressed and this child may develop seizures or lapse into a coma from the unhandled medical condition.
If the child is given true help from a competent medical doctor who was willing to test him for physical troubles, the real answer to his trouble can be found and addressed. Without competent medical care, the only action is to drug away symptoms, which is the inevitable result of TeenScreen�s operation. Without medical care, any child labeled with "depression" may be a ticking time bomb that will eventually result in a tragedy.
Numerous other diseases and conditions can be confused with mental diseases or disorders. According to the National Institutes of Health- Medline Plus, "Hyperthyroidism can mimic other health problems, which may make it difficult to diagnose. It can also cause a variety of signs and symptoms, including difficulty in sleeping, fatigue and irritability." Again, these are also defined as symptoms of "depression." According to the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, anemia causes symptoms that would seem like "depression" if the anemia were not detected by a medical doctor.
Hypothyroidism, hypoglycemia, allergies, adrenal problems, and anemia all result in some of the same symptoms that are used to "diagnose" depression as mental, not physical illness. If the real physical illness or problem is not detected and treated, these illnesses can get worse. Even a child with a brain tumor can be labeled with "depression" and may never get the medical care and treatment that will save his life.
Dr. William Crook in his book, "Detecting Your Hidden Allergies" says those bothered by irritability, depression, and fatigue ... "need an immediate full medical, physical examination and complete test for food allergies that could cause massive mental changes in a person."
Respected leaders and doctors � experts in the fields of medicine, neurology, education and government have spoken out against the methods used by psychiatry and TeenScreen. Recent FDA warnings about the dangers in psychotropic drugs have drawn attention to the issue. Many of the drugs which will be ingested by TeenScreen�s target market carry �Black Box� warning labels, indicating that they have been found to cause violent episodes and suicide in young who never exhibited such behavior before.
Kenneth W. Thomas, a registered nurse who has for 29 years worked in psychiatric units, critical care units and emergency rooms, says "A friend of mine, also a nurse, was sent home recently from work because she was "acting erratically" and didn't seem to know where she was. After thorough medical testing, she found out that she has hypoglycemia. She had been suffering with that undetected condition on and off for 15 years. She had been through the whole regimen of expensive anti-anxiety medications in attempts to treat it. After the actual cause of her symptoms was located, she changed her eating habits, the symptoms did not return and no drugs were needed to handle this condition."
Even many psychiatrists and psychologists have brutally criticized their own group for ignoring the deaths, murders, addiction, loss of memory, etc. incurred by standard psychiatric treatment. Parents whose children died from psychiatric "treatments" have been outraged and are speaking out.
In summary, we know that TeenScreen will result in more children labeled as �mentally ill,� possibly for their entire life, with no proof of its validity. We know that TeenScreen shuns genuine medical treatment and care in favor of unproven psychiatric diagnoses. We know that the use of TeenScreen results in increased revenue for psychiatric drug manufacturers.
Parents, teachers, school administrators and legislators must be made aware of TeenScreen�s true purposes and activities. No one should fraudulently sway parents away from proper medical care or limit their options in addressing their child�s wellbeing. TeenScreen, its creator, its executives and its backers must be fully investigated and the truth must be made public. TeenScreen should come clean and reveal the secret foundations that are supporting it and why.
favors and supports �mental health� treatment over any other option.
TeenScreen clearly shuns standard medical care in favor of the psychiatric
model of brain disorders and chemical imbalances though these have never
been scientifically proven. The public needs to wake up to this fraud
so that our children can get true help, if they need it, while at the
same time they are protected from unwanted and unneeded intrusions into
� 2006 Mary Collins - All Rights Reserved
are used strictly for NWVs alerts, not for sale
Mary Collins is a 72-year-old grandmother living in New Hampshire. She attained a BA in English Literature with a minor in History in 1954 from Millsap�s College in Jackson, Mississippi and was involved in education for over 20 years.
E-Mail: [email protected]
In summary, we know that TeenScreen will result in more children labeled as �mentally ill,� possibly for their entire life, with no proof of its validity. We know that TeenScreen shuns genuine medical treatment and care in favor of unproven psychiatric diagnoses.