Mental health screening of children asks young students embarrassing, personal and potentially upsetting questions that psychiatrists have worded in such a way that no student could escape being labelled mentally ill at some point during their education. These questionnaires can result in psychological or psychiatric intervention in lives of a child and his of her family - often against their will or under threat. Psychiatrists and psychologists working within the schools have also pressured teachers to conduct these screenings on students.
The UK made recommendations to screen for antisocial behaviour prebirth and to prevent babies being born into "high risk" families. Pregnant woman and home visits to new mothers would also include psychiatric screening with some mothers being offered 'baby' antidepressants for their new born babies.
Parents should know that if psychiatrists or psychologists are using schools to test or assess their child, they have the right to say no and to refuse to have their child tested or drugged. The only groups to benefit from such screenings and coercive drug treatments are psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry. Parents should unite to get psychiatric screening expelled from schools.
The Department of Health promotes several psychiatric questionnaires for teachers, parents and children from ages 3 to 16-year-old.
One of the most common screening questionnaires is The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire based on the criteria included in the Diagnostic Statistical of Mental Disorders (DSM - IV) or the International Classification of Diseases (ICD -10). This questionnaire is used on children from 3 years to 16 year-olds and includes invasive and evaluative questions about: Separation anxiety, Specific phobia, Panic/panic attacks, Post Traumatic stress, Obsessions and compulsions, Generalised anxiety, Depression, Irritability, Loss of interest, Deliberate Self Harm, Troublesome behaviour, Trouble with the Police and just to capture everything, "less common difficulties." Children from 11 to 16-years are asked to fill out the survey themselves while carers or parents fill out the survey for 3 - 4 year-old children.
For 3 to 4 year-olds: (The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire)
Filled out by a parent or carer who answers 'not true,' 'somewhat true' or 'certainly true.'
- Considerate of other peoples feelings?
- Restless or overactive cannot stay still for long?
- Often has temper tantrums or hot tempers?
- Constantly fidgeting or squirming?
- Often unhappy, downhearted or tearful?
- Easily distracted, concentration wanders?
- Nervous and clingy in new situations, easily loses confidences?
- Often argumentative with adults?
- Can't think things over before acting?
- Many fears, easily scared?
For 11 to 16 year-olds:
Filled out by the young person
- I try to be nice to people, I care about them?
- I get very angry and often lose my temper?
- I worry a lot?
- I have one good friend or more?
- I am often unhappy, downhearted or tearful?
- I'm easily distracted. I find it difficult to concentrate?
- I am nervous in new situations. I easily lose confidence?
- I am often accused of cheating or lying?
- I have many fears, I am easily scared?
For Separation Anxiety:
- Who are you particularly attached too?
- Overall, in the past month, have you been particularly worried about being separated from your (attachment figures cited in first question)? Have you often been worried either about something unpleasant happening to (attachment figure), or about losing them?
- Have you worried about sleeping alone?
- Were you like this by the age of 6?
For Specific Phobias:
- Are particularly scared about anoy of the things or situations
on this list?
a) Animals: Insects, spiders, bees, wasps, mice, snake, birds or another animal.
b) Storms, thunder, heights or water.
c) Blood: Injections? Injury: Set off by the sight of blood or injury, or by an injection?
d) Dentists of Doctors?
e) The dark?
f) Other specific situations: Lifts, tunnels, flying, driving, trains, buses, small enclosed spaces?
g) Any other fear (specify)?
For Social Phobias:
- Overall, do you particularly fear or avoid social situations which involve a lot of people, or meeting new people, or doing things in front of other people?
- Can I just check, have you been particularly afraid of anyone of the
following social situations over the last month?
a) Meeting new people?
b) Meeting a lot of people, such as at a party?
c) Eating in front of others?
d) Speaking in class?
e) Reading out loud in front of others?
f) Writing in front of others?
- In the past month, have there been times when you have been very sad, miserable, unhappy or tearful?
- In the past month, have there been times when you been grumpy or irritable in a way that was out of character for you?
- In the past month, has there been a time when you lost interest in everything, or nearly everything, you normally enjoy doing?
- Over these last 12 months
a) Have you often told lies in order to get things or favours from others, or to get out of having to do things you are supposed to do?
b) Have you often started fights?
c) Have ou often bullied or threatened people?
d) Have you often stayed out after dark much later than you were supposed to?
e) Have you stolen from the hosue, or from oher people's houses, or from shops or school?
f) Have you run away from home more than once, or ever stayed away all night?
g) Have you often played truant (bunked off) from school?
Adolescent Well Being Scale
The Adolescent Well Being Scale was devised to pick up possible depression in older children and adolescents and involves asking 18 questions about their thoughts and feelings and asking children whether they feel like that some of the time, sometime or never. It's used on children 7 to 16-years-olds.
- I feel like crying?
- I feel like leaving home?
- I get stomach aches/cramps?
- I think life isn't worth living?
- I have horrible dreams?
- I feel very lonely?
- I feel so sad I can't hardly bear it?
- I feel very bored?