Mental Health Screening
Mental Health Screening is based on the subjective and unscientific diagnostic system developed by psychiatrists predominantly with financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry. Today, such screening has become so much a part of many doctor's surgeries, businesses and even school systems that few people question the ramifications screening presents.
Mental health screening is a global strategy to have all people, specifically children, screened for psychiatric illnesses. The strategy evolved from a World Health Organisation (WHO) agenda in 1990, spearheaded by European psychiatrist Norman Sortorius and the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The NIMH launched a marketing campaign "Decade of the Brain," aimed at popularising biological psychiatry and drug use. "National Depression Screening Days" first sprung up in the US in 1991, heavily financed by the biggest manufacturers of antidepressant drugs.
"Depression Screening Days" are now implemented in many countries including the UK. More than a quarter of those screened at thousands of screening sites later started taking antidepressants. Pharmaceutical companies fund the organisers of these screening days. One group in the United States, Screening for Mental health took in almost $5 million from at least seven different drug companies - all makers of psychotropic drugs for children.
By 2003, the US Freedom Commission in their Mental Health Report recommended that all 52 million American school children be "screened" for "mental illness," claiming - without proof - that "early detection, assessment, and links with treatment" could "prevent mental health problems from worsening." Treatment ultimately means drugs that create lifetime "psychiatric" patients.
In February 2009, the European Parliament passed a resolution endorsing fifty points to increase mental health awareness and services in Europe, including "screening for mental health problems in general health services" and "early detection [screening] and treatment of mental health problems in vulnerable groups, with particular reference to minors."
In Australia the psychiatric front group, "beyondblue," mailed a "depression screening" care to every household in the country, based on subjective questions that could indentify half the population as needing antidepressants.
The UK's National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) Guidelines on depression recommend that screening should be undertaken in primary care doctors surgeries and that screening should include the use of two questions concerning mood and interest:
- During the past month, have you often been bothered by feeling down, depressed or hopeless?
- During the past month, have you often been bothered by having little interest or pleasure in doing things?
A 'yes' to either question is considered a positive test for depression and the person taking the test could be diagnosed with depression and most probably prescribed antidepressants.
"If people are educated to believe they are fundamentally
fragile, always on the verge of mortal disease, perpetually in need
of health-care professionals at every side, always dependent on an imagined
discipline of 'preventive' medicine, there can be no limit to the numbers
of doctors' offices, clinics, and hospitals required to meet the demand
... We are, in real life, a reasonably healthy people. Far from being
ineptly put together, we are amazingly tough, durable organisms, full
of health, ready for most contingencies. The new danger to our well-being,
if we continue to listen to all the talk, is in becoming a nation of
healthy hypochondriacs, living gingerly, worrying ourselves half to
death" (Thomas, 1979)