Once more, the USA Congress is considering a bill to help protect families from being pressured by schools to screen young people for mental health problems. And once more, MindFreedom is issuing an alert to encourage all USA citizens to contact your congressional delegation and support this important bill. In the past, the bill has sailed through the US House, but has gotten stuck in a US Senate committee now run by Senator Ted Kennedy.
Screening may mean thousands of more young people placed on psychiatric drugs without adequate advocacy, information, or alternatives.
Four Year Battle on Youth Mental Health Screening Continues
by John Ryan, MFI Media Chair
Child Medication & Safety Act was first introduced in Congress by Ron Paul (R – TX) in 2003. A similar bill will be brought up again in the House, which convenes starting today, 4 September 2007, as the Parental Consent Act of 2007 (HR 2387), again being sponsored by Rep Ron Paul (R – TX) and several cosponsors (see below).
This legislation would prohibit the use of Federal funds for any universal or mandatory mental health screening programs.
HR 2387 would also make it illegal for a Federal agency to dispense funds to any local educational agency that uses the refusal of a parent or legal guardian to provide written consent to mental health screening as the basis for a charge of child abuse or neglect.
In past years such legislation has passed the House, but has been held up in the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee by Senator Edward Kennedy (D – MA), who is now the Committee Chairman.
Please contact your representatives in the House and urge passage of the bill. We can be assured that lobbyists for Big Pharma and the Education lobby will be working to defeat the bill. A strong favorable voice from constituents is needed to offset the lobbyists.
If your Congressperson is a cosponsor of the bill, an email to thank him/her might be helpful.
And it’s not too early to educate your two US Senators about this bill.
The full text of the bill can be read by accessing
HR 2387 Co-Sponsors
- Rep Bachmann, Michele, Minnesota
- Rep Bartlett, Roscoe G., Maryland
- Rep Blackburn, Marsha, Tennessee
- Rep Brown-Waite, Ginny, Florida
- Rep Burton, Dan, Indiana
- Rep Camp, Dave, Michigan
- Rep Davis, Danny K., Illinois
- Rep Doolittle, John T., California
- Rep Everett, Terry, Alabama
- Rep Hensarling, Jeb, Texas
- Rep Hunter, Duncan, California
- Rep McCotter, Thaddeus G., Michigan
- Rep Miller, Jeff, Florida
- Rep Musgrave, Marilyn N., Colorado
- Rep Neugebauer, Randy, Texas
- Rep Poe, Ted, Texas
- Rep Simpson, Michael K., Idaho
- Rep Tancredo, Thomas G., Colorado
- Rep Walberg, Timothy, Michigan
Action for all USA Citizens:
Contact your US Congressional delegation and support this bill!
You can easily find the contact information for your Congressperson and your two US Senators through the web site of “Project Vote Smart.” Just put in your complete zipcode in the blank on the left of the below web site. They even have a link to find your “zip-plus-four” zipcode if you do not know that:
Some talking points:
- “Treatment” of children and adolescents labeled with a serious mental disorder almost always means the use of psychotropic drugs.
- Parents should have rights to make decisions regarding medication, not schools. No child should be denied an education because the child’s parents object to screening or school-mandated “treatment,” which often means psychotropic drugs.
- There have been many adverse effects of medication on children — heart attacks, increased risk of suicide, etc.
- There are other approaches (e.g., cognitive-behavioral approaches, organizational approaches, peer support, etc.) to tackle behavioral difficulties in the schools.
- Long-term effects of medications are unknown.
- The analogy that school officials use between screening for vision/hearing and screening for “mental illnesses” is faulty. There are objective tests to determine vision and hearing problems. Not so with mental “disorders.” They are based on behavioral criteria, and are subject to interpretation by the evaluators.
- At the U.S. National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Conference on ADHD, held on Nov. 19, 1998, the final statement of the Consensus Conference Panel read: “we have do not have an independent, valid test for ADHD, and there are no data to indicate that ADHD is due to a brain malfunction.” To this day there is still no valid laboratory test to detect so-called ADHD. It is a human construct, like marriage, for example.
- There has been an explosion of pediatric diagnoses of bipolar disorder (formerly manic depression). Diagnoses of bipolar have increased from 20000 in 1994 to 800,000 in 2003.