Mental Health Screening Without Parental Consent

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mrsmac
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Mental Health Screening Without Parental Consent

Postby mrsmac » Wed Jun 22, 2005 4:50 pm

Latest Christian News Stories....

School Mental Health Screening Prompts Family's Fight for Privacy, Parental Rights

By Jim Brown
June 22, 2005

(AgapePress) - An Indiana high school is being threatened with a lawsuit for subjecting a 15-year-old student to a mental health screening examination without her parents' knowledge or consent.

The Rutherford Institute (TRI), a nonprofit civil liberties organization, has filed a tort claim notice on behalf of Michael and Teresa Rhoades, whose daughter Chelsea received a mental health exam at Penn High School in Mishawaka. Indiana state law requires that such a notice of intent to sue must be sent to any government agencies, including schools, before a personal injury action can be initiated against them.

Individuals who administered the adolescent screening program known as "Teen Screen" at Penn High School diagnosed Chelsea Rhoades with obsessive compulsive disorder and social anxiety disorder. But the family's attorney, TRI founder and president John Whitehead, says the school's mental health screening of the teenager violated her privacy and her mother and father's parental rights.

Whitehead contends, "Most school teachers and people administering these kinds of tests are not qualified psychiatrists or psychologists to begin with, so we don't even believe they should be involved. We feel right now it's headed for a lawsuit, and if so, it's the first test case on this issue to really see if the schools are going to be allowed to do this."

The "Teen Screen" program is the result of a push by President George W. Bush's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health to enact mandatory mental health screening of all public school teachers and students -- including preschoolers -- for "psychological problems." Teen Screen is reportedly used to identify teenagers who may be at risk for suicide or mental illness.

However, Whitehead is skeptical of the value of the program and feels it may even prove ultimately damaging. "I think it's just one of these kind of crazy bureaucratic things that come out of Washington, DC," he comments, "and I think it's going to do a lot of harm. I think it's going to make a lot of kids who are normal feel they aren't normal, and -- number two -- it's going to have a lot of kids on Ritalin that shouldn't be on Ritalin."

But apart from his contention that the screeners' evaluation and diagnosis were improper, the head of TRI maintains that one facet of the incident is central. "I think probably the most important issue here is parental rights," he says. "Should parents have the right and the authority to specifically, in writing, consent before their kids are tested psychologically? We say yes."

Whitehead points out that parents have some immediate options for combating what he calls "the increasing problem of government encroaching into the privacy of the family." It is critical, he asserts, for them to learn their rights as parents, and they should also contact their local school officials and demand to be notified immediately if the school plans to conduct mental health screening on their children.

"Finally," Whitehead adds, parents whose children have been subjected to unauthorized screening should "follow the Rhoades' example and fight back against this encroachment on parental rights."

TRI points out that some U.S. states have already moved to implement recommendations by the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health. For example, the Illinois legislature has passed a plan to screen the mental health of all pregnant women and all children up to 18 years of age. Under this plan, which also includes the use of antidepressant drugs, children and adults will be screened for so-called "mental illness" during their routine physical examinations.

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kdddav
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Postby kdddav » Sat Jun 25, 2005 6:08 am

To see documents related to all of this, go here and click the Teen Sceen tab on the top of the website.

www.psychsearch.net

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

The Tech
"The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth becomes the greatest enemy of the State." —Dr. Joseph M. Goebbels, Hitler’s Propaganda Minister

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mrsmac
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Postby mrsmac » Tue Jul 12, 2005 4:19 pm

Latest Christian News Stories....

Family Advocate Opposes Illinois' Plan for Mandatory Mental Health Screening

By Jim Brown
July 12, 2005

(AgapePress) - An Illinois pro-family activist is urging parents to find out what stage their state is at in implementing President Bush's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health -- and to strongly oppose the plan.

On June 30, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich received a final proposal from the Illinois Children's Mental Health Partnership. Two years ago, the state Legislature charged the Partnership with crafting a plan to reform Illinois' mental health system. The plan calls for the screening of all Illinois children ages zero to 18 and pregnant women for mental health problems.

However, privacy advocates like Karen Hayes with Concerned Women for America of Illinois feel local public schools should not be performing psychiatric evaluations of students without informed parental consent. Often, says Hayes, parents are not aware their children are being screened.

"There's a real high risk of misdiagnosis [by the schools]," Hayes cautions, adding her concern about a "very definite link" between the testing and some drug companies. "We found in other states that the drug companies were actually funding some of the task forces because there are all these psychotropic drugs on the market that are being promoted," she says -- and many of those drugs, her group points out, have only been approved for and tested on adults.

Hayes contends that with the president's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, the door has been opened for groups like "TeenScreen" -- a supposed suicide prevention program designed by pharmaceutical industry-backed officials at Columbia University. She explains:

"What can take place is that a note is sent home saying [the school is] going to be doing this screening," she says. "And if there is no objection that comes back after the children are handed a note to take home -- and you know most notes end up left in backpacks ... then the school believes that they have parental consent to go ahead with the screening." Concerned Women for America of Illinois has suggested to the state that it institute an "opt in" format for parents, instead of this passive "opt out" plan.

According to Hayes, the Illinois screening program is not about mental health, but rather government control of attitudes and beliefs. In her estimation, she says, the expansion of government in schools and daycares can be both intrusive and costly.


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