Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Just To Annoy TeenScreen and SOS

Apparently the people promoting TeenScreen and Signs of Suicide are upset at bloggers who are putting the truth about these programs out for everyone to see. They seem to be quite irked that anyone would have the nerve to pass on some unattractive disclosures about their mental health screening initiatives. Perhaps it is the bloggers job to "screen the screeners"!

So...add me to the list, because if one more parent can learn about this effort which has been shown to produce false positives in identification of teens, and have in fact caused kids to get therapy and medication unnecessarily, and who have been screened without their parents knowing, then I'll be happy.
And I am not even a Scientologist! (eye roll)

So if you haven't seen these then you should and pass them along to your friends who have kids in government or private schools:

Video showing the TeenScreen national controversy

Video: Mother speaking out

A smoking gun - Tax Records showing millions in Pharmaceutical funding for Signs of Suicide

TeenScreen survey questions

Some more points for the public to know:

The developer of TeenScreen acknowledges that his screening tool "would deliver many who were not at risk for suicide, and that could reduce the acceptability of a school-based prevention program." The program has an 84% rate of false-positives, which means that the chances of your child walking away falsely labeled as "suicidal" or "mentally ill" is 84%.

TeenScreen's purpose is to get those kids into treatment. A recent study showed that 9 out of 10 children who saw a psychiatrist walked out of the office on drugs.

As far as the reliability of screening, in 2004, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) stated that they "found no evidence that screening for suicide risk reduces suicide attempts or mortality." Furthermore, they found "insufficient evidence that treatment of those at high risk reduces suicide attempts or mortality."

Ned Calonge, the chairman of the United States Preventive Services Task Force, was quoted in the June 16, 2006 Washington Post: "the panel would reach the same conclusion today... Whether or not we like to admit it, there are no interventions that have no harms... There is weak evidence that screening can distinguish people who will commit suicide from those who will not... And screening inevitably leads to treating some people who do not need it. Such interventions have consequences beyond side effects from drugs or other treatments.. . Unnecessary care drives up the cost of insurance, causing some people to lose coverage altogether."

The questions asked on these screening surveys may actually put suicide ideation into the heads of impressionable teens.

According to our government department of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA), TeenScreen is not listed as an evidence-based program - meaning the evidence doesn't support the program's aims. All of SAMHSA's programs for "evidenced-based" have been deemed by them to be "Experimental" programs, so even an inclusion on this list would still be experimenting with our children - not a purpose that most parents would support in their daughters' school.

The statistics thus far for TeenScreen resulted in one-third of the subjects being flagged as "positive" for mental health problems and 50% of those flagged were recommended for mental health treatment. If this system, already proven to be woefully inaccurate, is set loose on the 52 million public school students, it would mean affixing some sort of label on 17 million American children and putting 8 million children into the hands of the psychiatric/ drug industry. Imagine the financial gain for this monstrous industry with government taxpayers footing the bill. Follow the money.

A message to every taxpayer: don't let this nonsense into your schools.

A message to parents: talk to your kids about refusing participation in these types of programs without talking to you first.

A message to TeenScreen and SOS: We are on to you, and we'll continue to blow the whistle.