Since 2004 a group called the American Psychiatric Foundation has been promoting and marketing mental health awareness in high schools and middle schools using its trademarked educational program called Typical or Troubled?
Claiming that one in four Americans will suffer from a mental disorder during their life and that 90% of these people show “warning signs” during their teenage years, the APF has created materials to educate school teachers and parents how to spot these conditions using a stripped down mental disorder test consisting of “Notice. Talk. Act.”
They also “estimate” that one in every five children and adolescents has a mental health disorder and 11% of children ages 9 to 17 have a major mental health disorder.
Since psychiatrists make up and vote these “disorders” into existence, they have no shame about making up statistics of how many such cases exist out there in areas that are “underserved” who are lacking the proper mental health diagnosis and who are not yet receiving the agreed upon psychiatric drug prescriptions.
Beating the usual drum for early recognition, intervention and treatment, Typical or Troubled? has been presented in nearly 2,000 schools nationwide in urban, suburban, and rural school communities. Communities with 10 or less schools can receive grants to pay the cost of bringing the program to their schools; larger cities must contact APF directly to working out the finances.
Each community must apply and be accepted to receive this training and agree that “A mental health professional MUST BE part of the presentation to deliver the clinical information about adolescent mental health.”
What each school gets in the way of mental health awareness is a pep talk on the importance of “intervention”, the key warning signs, why referring people to mental health professionals is important, how the school referral program works and, finally, a session of role playing on how to talk to teenager.
The mental disorder test of teenage warning signs offered by the APF includes many teenage behaviors that may not be desirable conditions but are hardly worthy of the name “mental disorder”:
• Marked change in school performance.
• Inability to cope with problems and daily activities.
• Marked changes in sleeping and/or eating habits.
• Many physical complaints.
• Sexual acting out.
• Abuse of alcohol and/or drugs.
• Intense fear of becoming obese with no relationship to actual body weight, purging food or restricting eating.
• Persistent nightmares.
• Threats of self-harm or harm to others.
• Frequent outbursts of anger, aggression.
• Threats to run away.
• Aggressive or non-aggressive consistent violation of rights of others; opposition to authority, truancy, thefts, or vandalism.
• Strange thoughts and feelings; and unusual behaviors.
So, where is all this mental health awareness leading these teenagers?
On the APF website one learns “As the philanthropic and educational arm of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), we combine the knowledge and credibility of the world’s largest psychiatric organization with our patient and family-centered mission. Our affiliation with the APA gives us direct access to the most credible and up-to-date information on mental illness.”
The Chair of the APF Board of Directors is listed as James H. Scully, Jr., M.D., who is the Chief Executive Officer and Medical Director of the American Psychiatric Association (APA). Six of the seven Directors are psychiatrists and the seventh is Steve Leifman, a judge who serves as chair of the Florida Supreme Court task force on mental health.
Interestingly, the two examples APF gives of communities that use Typical or Troubled? in all their public schools are Miami-Dade County Public Schools in Florida and Albuquerque Public Schools in New Mexico. In fact it was Judge Leifman who recommended “Typical or Troubled?” to the Miami-Dade County school administrators.
Psychiatry has already been hard at work in these cities as Miami ranks number 7 in the country for number of suicides per year and Albuquerque comes in at number 5.
In addition to their connection to the APA, we find “Typical or Troubled?™ is currently supported by donations from individuals, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, and Shire Pharmaceuticals, Inc..”
They indeed receive over half their funding from those two drug companies and about half from the US government. The APF’s “Statement of Ethical Principles” gives a disclaimer that their donors do not administer or direct the project in any manner and that “the foundation does not support the use of any particular product, treatment or therapy including pharmaceuticals.”
But with over a million dollars coming in from Janssen and Shire, the APF is not likely to discover that good standard medical treatment and nutrition would handle the bulk of these teenage mental health warning signs.
Janssen produces CONCERTA, a addictive stimulant used for ADHD in children and adolescents, INVEGA, an atypical antipsychotic agent indicated for Treatment of schizophrenia in adolescents (12-17 years of age) and RISPERDAL, another atypical antipsychotic agent used for schizophrenia and bipolar disorders.
There have been 8,121 adverse reactions reported to the US FDA in connection with Concerta.
(The FDA estimates that less than 1% of all serious events are ever reported to it, so the actual number of side effects occurring for each drug is most certainly higher.)
There have been 12,880 adverse reactions reported to the US FDA in connection with Risperdal including:
unusual movements you can’t control
Shire produces ADDERALL XR used for the treatment of ADHD in children (6-12 years) and adolescents (13-17 years), INTUNIV XR, a prescription drug used to treat the symptoms of ADHD in children 6-12 years of age and VYVANSE, a central nervous system stimulant prescription drug used for the treatment of ADHD
Adderall is a Schedule II drug, in the same class of highly addictive drugs as morphine, opium and cocaine.
There have been 1,157 adverse reactions reported to the US FDA in connection with Adderall including:
heart problems/heart attacks
There have been 3,004 adverse reactions reported to the US FDA in connection with Vyvanse.
Stroke and heart attack in adults
Increased blood pressure and heart rate.
severe skin problems
frenzied, abnormally excited mood
slow or difficult speech
swelling of the eyes, face, tongue, lips, or mouth
uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body
The makers of these horrible drugs are happy to finance a foundation dedicated to spreading mental health awareness throughout the schools of America when the inevitable treatment will be prescriptions for their products.
NBC News recently ran a story about Typical or Troubled? on August 25th praising the program as a way to curb school violence. The comments section below the article showed that the public was not so enthusiastic about more psychiatric influence in schools.
“Teachers don’t need to look for signs of “mental illness.” They need to keep a close eye on boys and young men who are taking SSRIs, especially if they show signs of Aspergers Syndrome. Those are THE two most common characteristics of nearly every recent rampage shooter. Of course, big pharma doesn’t want that known. Think of the lawsuits.”
“Google “SSRI Stories” to find that web site and watch “The Drugging of Our Children” and the technical discussion by Robert Whitaker “Psychotropic Drugs and Children,” both on YouTube.”
And another comment:
“Schools are going to have to change. Teachers can’t control their classes. Little boys that act like boys stay in trouble and are abused. Schools want to medicate anything with a pulse. Parents need to step up and be parents not their kid’s friends.”
And this one:
“You are right about Ritalin promoting explosions. Also many of the young males carrying guns in school incidents were being treated with SSRIs which carry a warning to watch for agitation and changes of mood. But who is watching? It is not psychiatry to be sure.”
It’s ironic that the Typical or Troubled? school program slide presentation includes a supposedly humorous cartoon entitled “Anatomy of a Teenager’s Brain”. A cartoon profile of a head shows a brain with brightly colored sections each labeled with comments such as “Embarrassed by parents section”, “Girls are suddenly fascinating section”, “Ability to remember the lyrics to offensive hip-hop song” and “School work – the smallest section of the brain”.
While probably intending to lighten the mood of their mental disorder presentation to teachers and parents, the cartoon actually reminds us that the psychiatrists themselves don’t know any more about the brain and its relationship to emotions and mental health than this silly drawing. Their drug literature always starts out “we don’t really know what causes ____disorder” and “we don’t really know how _____ drug works”.
The result of spreading such “mental health awareness” in schools is bound to be more pain and suffering amongst teens, parents and teachers.