September 8, 2004

Alert! Universal Mental Health Screening Amendment


Karen R. Effrem, MD
EdAction Board of Directors

Physician and Republican Congressman Ron Paul will offer an amendment prohibiting funding for universal mental health screening programs to Labor/Health and Human Services/Education appropriations bill, HR 5006, to be debated on the US House floor on Wednesday and Thursday, September 8th and 9th.  It is urgent that you call your Member of Congress and the House leadership TODAY with your support of the Paul amendment:

EdAction strongly supports this type of amendment, as does a broad coalition of education, family, and medical/mental health groups.  The long list includes Eagle Forum, Concerned Women for America, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, Gun Owners of America, the Liberty Committee, the Alliance for Human Research Protection, the International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology, and Freedom 21.
Universal mental health screening and the drugging of children, as recommended by the New Freedom Commission, needs to be stopped so that many thousands if not millions of children will be saved from receiving stigmatizing diagnoses that would follow them for the rest of their lives.  America’s school children should not be medicated by expensive, ineffective, and dangerous medications based on vague and dubious diagnoses.
Use the following talking points. . (For more details on each of these points, see and  

1)  Parental rights are unclear or non-existent under these screening programs.

2)  Parents are already being coerced to put their children on psychiatric medications and some children are dying because of it. -

3)  Merging screening with the academic standards required by No Child Left Behind, as is happening in Illinois, will lead to diagnosis for political reasons.

4)  Mental health screening does not prevent suicide.

5)  Mental health diagnoses are “subjective” and “social constructions” as admitted by the authors of the diagnostic manuals themselves.

6)  Most psychiatric medications do not work in children

7)  The side effects of these medications in children are severe.