By Laura Adelmann
Mar 21, 2006, 21:01
To the federal government, many newborns, toddlers and preschoolers are undiagnosed mental cases with dire need of "treatment" (read: drugs).
Following the appalling trend of labeling school children with an ever-expanding list of mental disorders and medicating them with the cocaine-class of drugs like Adderall and Ritalin, government is promoting universal mental health screening and treatment " beginning with babies.
The Federal Mental Health Action Agenda, the blueprint to implementing the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, is targeting America's youngest by promoting mental health screenings in places like daycares and schools.
In a 2003 speech, Kathryn Power director of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, excitedly reported that mental health assessments " "prevention and intervention" " are increasingly being conducted in "non-mental health settings." She commended one unnamed community for "placing mental health consultants in child care settings." Also touted was the federal "Prevention and Early Intervention Grant Program." Power noted the program's goal is to reach children " and babies " before they "have a diagnosable problem." At that time, Power stated, more than half of the administration's programs were to focus on infants and preschoolers.
Mandatory screening of children against government-defined criteria of what is "mentally healthy" is an Orwellian nightmare; the government will decide if citizens, starting at birth, are "mentally healthy."
Dr. Karen Effrem, a Johns Hopkins-trained pediatrician, researcher and expert on the government's movement toward universal mental health screening, has been sounding the alarm about the dangers of this Big Pharmaceutical movement for years.
She rightly states, "Government sponsored and controlled universal mental health screening, no matter how sweetly wrapped in the fig leaf of parental consent, should never, ever be implemented. It is never, EVER, the proper role of government to set norms for, assess or intervene in the thoughts and emotions of free citizens, much less innocent, vulnerable, and still developing children. It is our thoughts and emotions that make each of us uniquely and individually human, and we use these thoughts and emotions to understand the world and maintain our inalienable right to liberty."
Once a child has been screened, a highly subjective process, their personal medical information will become part of state records, potentially to be used as a screening tool for health care, employment, military or college admissions. An identified child would likely be ushered further into the psychological system for more assessments and "treatment,"a term that's become a euphemism for Big Psychology's first methodology: Drug therapy. And the mental health establishment is not shy about drugging babies. Between 1995 and 1997, psychotropic drug prescriptions for children from 2 to 4 years old grew by 300 percent.
Under the universal screening system, an identified child's family like would also be brought into the equation. What happens to parents who refuse to obey the psychological establishment's recommendations to drug a baby" Would the parent be considered a child abuser" Perhaps there is a genetic component the government screeners may want examined. Indeed, the actual stated goal of the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health is much broader than just babies, it promotes mental health screening for all, including "Teen Screen," an on-line mental health questionnaire. Effrem said the program's author admits to an 84 percent false-positive rate. "Any other medical test with that high of a false-positive rate would be laughed out of the room," said Effrem in a March 2 speech, (to be available on DVD at www.edwatch.org).
But "universal" mental health screening programs are already being implemented, many through federal grant programs, in states around the nation, said Effrem. The Florida Strategic Plan for Infant Mental Health Plan's goal is to develop a system to prevent children from birth to age five from developing emotional and behavioral disorders.
"Are we going to put the kids in a bubble" Are the parents becoming breeders and feeders so that the government can provide this mental health nirvana for these children?" Effrem asked.
Minnesota's early childhood screening program is being integrated to "ensure" all children ages birth to 5 are screened "early and continuously" for "socio-emotional" (euphemism for mental health) to link "children and their families" to mental health services. In Illinois, "all children" are to receive social and emotional screens and the schools are to incorporate social and emotional standards as part of the state's learning standards.
U.S. Sen. Ron Paul (R-Texas) has been a vocal opponent of mental health screening. In his Sept., 2004 newsletter Texas Straight Talk, he wrote, It's not hard to imagine a time 20 or 30 years from now when government psychiatrists stigmatize children whose religious, social , or political values do not comport with those of the politically correct, secular state."
It may not take that long; Effrem said some mental health and violence-prevention programs are already labeling children as mentally ill or potentially violent based on political and religious criteria.
The people need to speak out: There is no baby mental health crisis in America. Broad mental illness screening of babies is an outrageous overreaching intrusion into children's personal thoughts, behaviors and emotions, and it needs to be stopped.
Laura Adelmann is a Staff Writer for The New Media Alliance. Columns by this author can be read regularly on TheRealityCheck.org.
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