Of course no one wants another school massacre like the one that just occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary a couple of months ago.  So how do we prevent such a tragedy from happening again?  Some think having armed guards at schools will protect our kids.  Others think more mental health services and programs are the answer.  Any attempt at prevention is usually a good idea.  However, when mental health programs are implemented in schools to detect early signs of mental illness, it is actually harmful and destructive to students.

In the Miami-Dade school district, which is the fourth largest in the country, a mental health screening program called “Typical or Troubled?” will be adopted very soon.  The idea is to identify those with symptoms of mental illness early.  If those warning signs are present, then the student will be referred to a professional to get a mental health evaluation.  It is promoted that early treatment will prevent another school shooting.  It is claimed that  early detection and treatment will also prevent a student from developing a serious mental illness which makes it sound like a win-win for all.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

The first problem that should be noted is the obvious conflict of interest.  The “Typical or Troubled?” program is sponsored by three drug companies that manufacture psychotropic drugs.  It was created by the American Psychiatric Foundation.   A Miami-Dade judge, who is on their board, presented the “Typical or Troubled?” program to the Miami-Dade Superintendent of Schools.   Since early detection and treatment obviously means more mental illness diagnoses and treatment with psychotropic drugs, the conflict of interest is obvious.  The judge presented a self-serving aim of more business for psychiatry and profits for drug companies.

The second problem is that teachers, janitors and cafeteria workers will be trained to recognize symptoms of mental illness.  This is incredibly invasive and ridiculous.  Teachers go to college for four years or more to get a degree in education, yet these days schools across the country are not uniformly graduating well educated students.  How could it possibly be successful to add an additional duty when they are not getting the expected results in their regular job?  Isn’t this adding insult to injury?  As for cafeteria workers and janitors, they are just flat out just not qualified for this task.

The third problem is that this program is touting symptoms as if they are as legitimate as an x-ray shows a broken bone.  This is not the case, as the symptoms are arbitrary and not based on any science.  While all these people are being trained regarding signs of mental illness, it is doubtful they are being taught that all these symptoms are based on subjective opinions.  It is doubtful that they are being taught that there is no blood test, x-ray, urine test or any other scientific test to even prove the existence of any mental illness.  Sure there are symptoms but that is all they are.  Even psychiatrists themselves admit they that do not know the cause or cure for a mental disorder.

Some of the symptoms being taught are actually laughable.  Sleeping through class is supposedly is sign of mental illness.  Is anyone going to first ask if the student got a good night’s sleep?  Is anyone going to ask if he’s challenged enough by the material in his class?  Is anyone going to ask if he is bored?  How about questioning his diet or daily schedule?  How is it logical that sleeping in class is a sign of mental illness?  It is not.  It’s absurd.

Other symptoms supposedly are:  marked change in school performance, aggressive outbursts, opposition to authority, truancy, abuse of alcohol or drugs, threats to run away, strange thoughts and an inability to handle daily problems and activities, to name a few.  Anyone would agree that this is just a list of what can happen during those dreaded “teenage years.”  Teenagers can experience difficult times, but psychiatry has unjustly classified it as “abnormal” behavior.  The name “Typical or Trouble?” is the right choice of words, but teenagers are not one or the other but both, as teenagers are typically troubled.

Another problem is what about the likelihood that a student supposedly with symptoms is referred to get an evaluation, when the actuality is that the student really has no mental issues?  The judge said this scenario is a possibility but is not one to be concerned about.  He said the worst that could happen is that the student would get a mental health evaluation and if there’s nothing there, then so be it.  Considering the symptoms are typical teenage behavior, how likely is it that the result will be nothing there?  It’s more likely the student will be misdiagnosed with some fictitious mental illness and put on psychotropic drugs.

There’s no question that there is a hidden motive behind this program.  It is basically a marketing campaign to get as many young people as possible onto psychotropic drugs.   The psychiatric profession and the drug companies together put out arbitrary information unsubstantiated by any cold hard facts. 

They say fifteen million children have diagnosable disorders and most show symptoms by their mid teens.  Without any medical test for mental illness how do they know this?  They also claim that more than sixty percent are not getting adequate treatment.  That means not enough people are on drugs.  As a clincher, they aim to scare you by saying that suicide is the third leading cause of death for those between fifteen and twenty-four years old. 

What they really mean is if we mislead everyone into thinking that everybody has some kind of mental illness so that more screening is a good idea, then we can sell more drugs.  They pitch their program as a prevention tool for school massacres, only with the aim of selling more drugs.  “Typical or Troubled?” is not a safety net as the Miami-Dade Superintendent of Schools stated, it is covert trap.

If students were being put on some harmless medication, there wouldn’t be any cause for concern.  However, psychotropic drugs can have serious adverse side effects such as aggressive behavior, hostility, mania, hallucinations, seizures, suicidal and homicidal tendencies. What this means is that as the proportion of students on drugs that cause suicidal and homicidal tendencies increases, then the more the likelihood that more school massacres will occur.  This is not prevention, but a disaster waiting to happen.

The good news is people of Florida have the right to informed consent.  This means that parents and students have the right to alternative treatments.  In other words, any Floridian can refuse a mental health evaluation or mental health treatment because it’s the law.  Just say no and find the true physical cause of those “mental illness symptoms.”  You will be healthier and happier as a result.