Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Government Urges Screening of Teens

Yesterday, Fox News reported 2 million teens are suffering from depression in the country. The report goes on to say every teen should be screened for mental health issues including depression, anxiety and substance abuse, as most teens with depression go untreated and unidentified. Making a mental wellness questionnaire part of every well child check up could help identify and get these teens the help they need. Untreated mental health issues lead to suicide or drug abuse. There are hundreds of teens suffering needlessly here in Bexar County. The report also mentions the lack of specialists to treat teens with mental health issues, leaving the burden on pediatricians and family practice doctors. We in San Antonio know there is a big shortage of child and adolescent psychiatrists, requiring parents to wait several months for an appointment for their children. But this article goes on to say not all teens would require the use of pharmacology to treat their issues. Therapy has long been held to be an important part of successful and continued recovery from mental illness. This is no different. Based upon a set of easy to answer basic questions, a health care provider could screen teens and children for indicators of issues that could benefit from therapy. Screening teens and children for mental health issues could prevent these from becoming larger issues costing more in resources and disruption of the child's life. Right here in San Antonio, The Youth Mental Health Council, a subcommittee of the Health Collaborative, is working on just such a project. The Young Minds Matter project would incorporate a mental health screening at every well child check up. The project could benefit hundreds of children that go unidentified and untreated in Bexar County every year. Our children deserve the best we can give them for physical and mental health. We screen for hearing and sight issues early on. Our children's emotional health should be addressed yearly as well. Healthy kids need healthy minds. If you would like more information on this project and how to help, please contact the Health Collaborative at


  1. Mental health screening has vested interests:

    Studies reveal that screening has a very high false-positive rate (labelling children who are not depressed and saying they are).

    My question is: What did we do for the last hundreds of years that this is just now an "epidemic"? How is it that until the last 10 years this wasn't even recognized as a situation? How did BILLIONS of teens throughout history ever survive without all this screening, diagnosing and treatment? What has changed in our lives that makes this an epidemic now? Wouldn't addressing THAT issue bring a resolve?

    I highly doubt that all those teens are suffering from a disorder of their brain! Maybe those vested interests are what has changed to bring about this "epidemic".

    Make no mistake about it, drugging IS the number 1 choice of treatment. Do you know that when psychiatrists were surveyed it was found that the "treatment" for 9 out of 10 of the children is drugging? And that rarely is a child put on just one drug - it is usually two or more. Do you know that according to surveys/studies that a regular pediatrician is MORE likely to prescribe a drug than therapy?

    And WHY is big government being allowed to put their noses into my families health? Since when does the government know BETTER than me what is best for my child? Who elected them to be the parent?

    And in case you think you, as a parent, will have choices think again - the paperwork and forms that you DON'T see have a checkbox that the screener fills out that looks like this:
    If the student’s screening indicated a problem;
    Did you notify parents? Yes No
    Provide a reference? Yes No
    Did parents agree to follow up? Yes No
    If Yes, did they do so in a timely and appropriate manner? Yes No
    If No, did you notify DHS (child services)? Yes No

    Our rights as parents are being eroded under the guise of "help". Our tax dollars are paying for this invasion. Our state's Medicaid's are going broke over the prescribing practices and the costs. Think those statements are alarmist and "right wing" or whatever? Then do the research and see for yourself!

    It is not impossible to look at individual state records and find out the costs of these drugs and the amount of money being dumped into screening. It is not hard to see what these escalating costs are doing to state's budgets. It is easy to find the vested interests behind all this mental health and depression screening. All the documented information is on the internet.

    WHO BENEFITS? Follow the money

  2. Not every child needs meds. Not every child needs to be intervened with. But every child deserves the right to be helped if they need it. I would rather have a parent fill out a form that takes 5 minutes than have one child die because no adult took the time to ask the right questions. Back in the day, kids who were "different" never had a chnace to live a full life. They didn't go to schools. Mental Asylums were little more than warehouses for people no one wanted to deal with. Every parent has the right to say no to medications and they should until they understand everything about the meds. That includes antibiotics, over the counter drugs and vitamins.

  3. IN regards to the website you had referenced, that is one particular program. Check out the Aney Casey Foundation info on the numebr of kids who have a diagnosable mental health issue that are in juvenile justice settings. The American Academy of Pediatrics is responsible, in part, for the report on the 6% number of teens who may be depressed. Just because one program has ties to drug companies doesn't mean that ll data regarding children's mental health and incidents of depression and anxiety are invalid.