Concerned About Mental Health Screening In Schools

To the Editor:

The Signs of Suicide depression screening test that is about to be implemented in the Newtown High School causes me serious concern, and it should alarm other parents as well.

According to psychiatrist David Shaffer, the creator of TeenScreen (a program similar to SOS), TeenScreen "... does identify a whole bunch of kids who aren’t really suicidal, so you get a lot of false-positives. And that means if you’re running a large program at a school, you’re going to cripple the program because you’re going to have too many kids you have to do something about."

Psychiatrist Dr. Stefan Kruszewski said, “Virtually anyone at any given time can meet the criteria for bipolar disorder or ADHD. Anyone. And the problem is everyone diagnosed with even one of these ‘illnesses’ triggers the pill dispenser.” Which leads me to my next serious concern about this program being implemented in our schools.

There have been 99 drug regulatory agency warnings from ten countries (United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Russia, Italy and Germany) and the European Union warning that antidepressant drugs cause side effects, and the major one is suicide/risk/attempts.

At least 31 school shootings and/or school-related acts of violence have been committed by those taking or withdrawing from psychiatric drugs resulting in 162 wounded and 72 killed (in other school shootings, information about their drug use was never made public—neither confirming or refuting if they were under the influence of prescribed drugs).

Between 2004 and 2012, there have been 14,773 reports to the US FDA’s MedWatch system on psychiatric drugs causing violent side effects. Note:  The FDA estimates that less than one percent of all serious events are ever reported to it, so the actual number of side effects occurring are most certainly higher.

There are no objective tests in psychiatry. No X-ray, blood test, biopsy, brain scan, nothing that says definitively that someone does or does not have a mental disorder. Any diagnosis of mental illness is completely subjective based solely on opinion.

It is my sincere hope that the school officials will reconsider implementing this subjective, unscientific screening program in our schools.


Greg Taylor

8 Winslow Road, Newtown                    February 25, 2014

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