Stop TeenScreen's Unscientific and Experimental "Mental Health Screening" of American School Children

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Whereas children as young as 9, who previously had not thought of the concept of suicide, are being asked invasive and leading questions by TeenScreen such as: Have you tried to kill yourself in the last year? Are you still thinking of killing yourself? Have you thought seriously about killing yourself? Have you often thought about killing yourself? Have you ever tried to kill yourself?" and kids are being lured into doing the suicide survey by TeenScreen's offers of free movie passes, food coupons, pizza parties and $50 mall gift certificates;

Whereas the goal of TeenScreen leaders is to screen every American child before they graduate from high school;

Whereas TeenScreen is based on the controversial and unscientific Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, written by psychiatrists with financial ties to drug companies and children screened by TeenScreen are not given valid medical testing such as brain scans, blood test, urine tests, X-Rays or any other valid medical tests to detect evidence of any possible physical abnormality that may be contributing to certain behavior;

Whereas, according to TeenScreen psychiatrist David Shaffer, mental disorders in the DSM were developed by psychiatrists "shouting out their opinions from all sides of the room and whoever shouted loudest tended to be heard. My own impression, coming straight from England, was it was more like a tobacco auction than a sort of conference." and according to Shaffer, TeenScreen "... does identify a whole bunch of kids who arent really suicidal, so you get a lot of false-positives. And that means if youre running a large program at a school, youre going to cripple the program because youre going to have too many kids you have to do something about";

Whereas TeenScreen has screened children across the nation without written parental consent in violation of federal law and state laws and has screened children across the nation without fully informed consent and did not warn parents that after taking the TeenScreen suicide survey, certain children have been and will be labeled with false mental disorders, based upon the unscientific DSM and the "chemical imbalance of the brain" theory, which relies solely upon observation and for which no scientific or medical test exists;

Whereas a federal lawsuit has been filed against a school and psychiatric facility by the Rutherford Institute on behalf of parents who did not give permission for their child to be subjected to the TeenScreen suicide survey which resulted in a false diagnosis of a mental disorder;

Whereas an epidemic already exists with children using psychiatric drugs and will further skyrocket if children are referred to psychiatrists after screening. According to a survey of recently trained child psychiatrists it was found that treatment for 9 out of 10 children consisted of prescription drugs. (Journal of the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry 2002);

Whereas TeenScreen's leaders and advisory board members have ties to pharmaceutical companies and front groups for pharmaceutical companies;

Whereas antipsychotic drugs are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for children; the FDA's "black box warning" states antidepressants increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in children and adolescents with psychiatric disorders; and drug safety experts have recommended additional "black box" warnings be placed on ADHD drugs: for the increased risk of stroke and heart attack;

Whereas potential recruits are ineligible for military service if they have taken Ritalin and other stimulants to treat the unscientific "disorder" called ADHD in the previous year;

Whereas most states have laws restricting the purchase of firearms based on an adjudication of mental illnesses or disorders, and mass screening of all American children for mental disorders will increase the number of persons labeled with a mental disorder, directly infringing upon the citizenry's right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the 2nd amendment;

Whereas TeenScreen only partners with and seeks to immediately refer students to "mental illness" practitioners and does not refer students to medical disciplines that could test for underlying health problems such as allergies, nutrition, toxicities and physical illnesses;

Whereas child suicides are very rare and have been on a decline for years; and even according to former TeenScreen director Rob Caruano, "suicides are so rare that you'd have to screen the whole country to see a difference in mortality between screened and unscreened students.";

Whereas many and various groups, individuals and legislators across a spectrum of political, religious, scientific and common sense views are opposed to screening for mental disorders in schools;

Whereas TeenScreen is very secretive about their suicide survey and refuses to allow parents to obtain a copy and is also very secretive about which schools they've convinced to use their suicide survey;

Whereas the United States Preventive Services Task Force reported in May of 2004:
There is no evidence that screening for suicide risk reduces suicide attempts or mortality,
There is limited evidence on the accuracy of screening tools to identify suicide risk,
There is insufficient evidence that treatment of those at high risk reduces suicide attempts or mortality;

Whereas Ned Calonge, the chairman of the United States Preventive Services Task Force, who is also the chief medical officer for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 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.";

Whereas TeenScreen is an intrusion into the rearing of children and false psychiatric labels could embarrass students and cause turmoil at home;

Whereas many school districts have reservations about using TeenScreen because of liability and risk issues;

Whereas legislators in various states are proposing legislation to stop state and federal funding for screening of mental disorders in schools;

Whereas schools should be in the business of educating our children instead of probing each for unscientific mental disorders;

We, therefore, petition school board members and state and federal legislators to stop using the TeenScreen suicide survey and to adopt firm policy that will prevent the implementation of TeenScreen in the future.