Inside Illinois
Leader readers express outrage with mental health screening plan for expectant mothers and children 18 yrs and younger

Monday, July 26, 2004

Toddlers throughout Illinois will be screened for potential mental health problems in the new Children's Mental Health Act of 2003.
OPINION -- The revelation of a mental health screening plan for all children in Illinois through age 18 and all pregnant women has sparked an unprecedented number of letters to

As a sampling of the outrage Leader readers are expressing, eight letters have been selected from those pouring in. More will be featured in the upcoming days.

How in the world can Illinois afford this massive intrusion into privacy?

I’m stunned to find out that the Illinois Children’s Mental Health Partnership Preliminary Plan passed unanimously by the State Senate and with only five dissenting votes in the House. This massive intrusion mandates pregnant women and children be tested and evaluated for mental, social and emotional heath concerns, then determine who is at risk and what drug(s) should be administered.

Who decides the definition of “at risk”; who decides what are “positive family outcomes” and “meaningful family involvement”; what if a child fails “age-appropriate social and emotional competency”; what kind of approach is “comprehensive and culturally sensitive”; what are “appropriate confidentiality policies” and who determines what findings are “shared”; how does the government “partner” with anyone; and who decides in matters of disagreement?

What happened to privacy? And how in the world can Illinois afford this?

A law was passed in 1998 that banned all psychological testing of children. The proposed plan clearly undermines parental authority!

Illinois Leader readers - ask your state senator and representative why - and then ask them to stop it!

Kathy Valente
Illinois State Director
Concerned Women for America


Psychiatry -- the only business in America where the customer is always wrong

Forced screening of the general population for "mental illness," and the possibility of forced treatment for those then "diagnosed," is a dangerous un-American fraud. When people are troubled, they -- and they alone -- should determine whether to seek help, and if so, where. We don't need experts to tell us when we are troubled. And when children have difficulties it is the parents, not the state, who have primary responsibility for helping to deal with them.

"Mental illness" is a vague term which has now expanded beyond all limits. Should "experts" so label any of us, or our children, how do we disprove it? And should they then insist that medication be given against our will - as some public schools are already doing with ADHD-labeled children - how do we protect ourselves against these often-dangerous substances?

Some forty years ago, a psychologist on Long Island urged a group of educators to have "mental health teams" drop unannounced into classrooms to find "sick" teachers needing "treatment" because they were supposedly so harmful to their students. All present were horrified, and rejected this proposed resurrection of the medieval Inquisition, with "mental health experts" taking the role of the medieval Church.

Psychiatry has been called the only business in America where the customer is always wrong. Allowing it forcibly to screen the American public would benefit only the screeners and the drug companies, and harm the rest of us - as well as destroying our democratic traditions of free speech and thought.

Nathaniel S. Lehrman, M.D.
former Clinical Director, Kingsboro Psychiatric Center
Roslyn NY


A trolling gimmick for the psychiatric and pharmaceutical industry

I have seen the article, "IL launches compulsory mental health screening for children and pregnant women," July 19, 2004.

I am first of all very impressed that your news agency has the brass enough to communicate the truth about what I call "Big Brother tactics" that is being shoved off on our citizens.

The "mental health" screenings are nothing more than a trolling gimmick for the psychiatric and pharmaceutical industry. How audacious and low can you go?

Ask anyone if they want the "State" monitoring them and directing them to mental health services. I know I have asked a lot of people and the answers are the same -- heck no.

This reminds me of George Orwell's Big Brother in 1984. We need to let the government know that we will not stand for "political treatment" under the guise of these blokes. Pass the word, Big Brother is coming.

Luis Colon
Fairfax, Virginia


Faith based solution to mental stress

As a 24-year old woman and resident of Des Plaines, who someday hopes to raise my children in the Chicago area, I am shocked, outraged, and disgusted by this new "mental health screening" initiative.

I do not believe psychiatry works. I believe its basic theory to be faulty and its practices in humanitarian. I refuse to let the state direct me on how to handle my own mind or the mind of my child.

It is terrifying to think that my own state would try to impose upon my right to think for myself in the matter of how to live a mentally healthy life. This is a most personal decision.

I am a religious person and choose to address any mental stress I may experience through the spiritual; not through drugs and other harmful psychiatric practices. Others may choose these practices as it is their right. But imposing upon me that I must follow the cult of the brain, psychiatric "disorders" which are in truth not based in science by their own admission, is unconstitutional and wrong.

Psychiatric diagnoses of so called "mental illnesses" are based on no actual scientific physical test; they are subjective and psychiatrists admit this. However, who will be screening these children and women? And with what test?

How will a pregnant woman be able to get a second opinion, and prove that she is not "mentally ill" in the eyes of psychiatrists whose clear goal is to rake in more insurance dollars for prescription drugs? If pregnant women and children do not have the right to stand up for their own beliefs and make their own decisions as regards their mental health, then I condemn this practice as un-American. Psychiatric "dogma" is far from science. And it is harmful.

Lane Eddington
Des Plaines


Lack of basic education - not mental illness - was her son's only problem

I can't believe this is real! This is science fiction, Big Brother, in real life! How did this ever get this far? This legislation hits on every citizen in our country.

The rise of our children being put on mind-altering drugs in this country has already been driven to epidemic proportions. Is this coincidental with the rising crime rates of our youth? I feel it is no coincidence.

What is the scientific, medical basis for this decision? None, there is no medical testing that can be done to "screen" for mental illness.

As a mother of six kids, this hits to my very heart! My one child was deemed by the public school system to be in need of psychiatric intervention and drugging due to behavior in school. I was threatened with being reported to Child Protective Services if I didn't comply.

No academic testing or help was offered, and my request for such was even turned down. Going to private means, I found my seventh grade child had a third grade reading level and a fourth grade level in math.

To avoid compulsory mental treatment, we enrolled in an out-of-state private school where the lack of proper basic education was remedied. My child is now grown, married, and a contributing member of society. And for what reason - to support others, who for some obscure reason have been deemed and labeled unfit to contribute?

Whose pocket does this legislation line? This is where the insanity lays - the "treatment" of our future citizens with labels and mind-altering drugs for the profit of a few!

Susan Weibert
Youngstown, NY


Schools have become mental health clinics

I am appalled that Illinois could even consider such lunacy as compulsory mental health screening.

The psychiatric Diagnostic and Statistical Manual contains hundreds of psychiatric mental “disorders” which are a list of behavioral symptoms that are literally voted into existence and inserted into the DSM. Such diagnoses include “Caffeine-Related Disorder,” “Mathematics Disorder,” “Disorder of Written Expression,” and the all-encompassing “Phase of Life Problem.” These “disorders” are simply a classification of symptoms that are drastically different from, and foreign to, anything in medicine.

Schools have become mental health clinics where children are diagnosed based on subjective questionnaires, instead of given proven educational solutions. This fact was substantiated by a report from the President’s Commission on Excellence in Special Education, which found that 2.4 million children had been diagnosed with mental “disorders” and placed in Special Education, when in fact these children had simply not been taught to read.

The issue of coerced child drugging with psychiatric drugs in public schools has become so prevalent that the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Child Medication Safety Act in May 2003, to prevent schools from forcing a parent to drug their child as a condition of attending school.

Please encourage others to oppose this ill-conceived big-brother effort.

Moritz Farbstein
St. Louis, MO


Mothers, go home to your children!

Quick, abandon school! Save your children from deep depression; abuse by peers, teachers, or other authorities; meddling government departments of "Children's Services"; mental health evaluations; standardized testing; sex education; and rapper poetry class!

Mothers, go home to your children! Watch them play. Teach them the good that you know. Love them.

Dads, love your wives. Make them your best friend, and then hang around with your kids! Quit dropping them off at the mall. Play games -- all sorts. (Watch Mary Poppins)

Then depression statistics will drop; suicides will drop; teen pregnancy will drop; welfare will drop; and jobs will be created for other dads when the moms go home. Children will no longer be roaming the streets in gangs being bored (I'm not stupid; I know they'll say they're bored but they always say that!). Taxes will be dropped right after the national debt is paid! (Yeah, right) And they'll have to come up with other government programs! (Let your mind wonder on that!)

Maybe you just "don't have the time." You've got too many other important things to do. Maybe you think I'm making it sound like an easy fix -- try it! After the first three years of adjustment you and your kids will get over the culture shock. Your grown children might even decide to stay in the area with the grandkids if you act like you really care about them now!

Rhonda Bradley


APA and social engineering

I agree with Edie Fieste's assessment of the issues surrounding the Child Mental Health Act of 2003--most especially her statement that "so many lives have already been destroyed by psychiatry and it’s ever increasing number of 'mental' illnesses." ["Mental health bill is insane," July 23, 2004] Let us not forget the far-reaching social damage which has resulted from a previous attempt by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) to limit the number of mental illnesses.

In 1973, the APA "declassified" homosexuality by deleting it from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. APA members are more than mere physicians; they are social engineers as well.

Thanks to the APA, gender confusion is no longer confusion--it's a choice. What a sad choice, indeed. Like the myth of abortion as a woman's "choice" it is an option that leads only to sadness and destruction of the individual involved and the rest of society.

So why do well-meaning politicians and educators and psychiatrists promote such dubious "choices"? I believe the answer can be found in the current volume of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IVR): "Factitious Disorder." In this syndrome, patients "tend to take on symptoms of new and often poorly investigated illnesses" with the "apparent motive of occupying the sick role."*

I'd like to offer an additional definition for "factitious disorder" --a life-threatening deficit of the truth. Yes, Edie, Heaven help us. Because we know the APA, the NEA, and the politicians can't!

*Reference: Morrison, James, MD. (2001) DSM-IV Made Easy: The Clinician's Guide to Diagnosis. New York: Guilford Press.

Terri Quillen
Greenwood, IN


Related stories:

IL launches compulsory mental health screening for children and pregnant women on Monday, July 19, 2004

Children's Mental Health task force hearings continue through Friday on Wednesday, July 21, 2004.

Mental health plan forums end, parents concerned about findings on Friday, July 23, 2004.


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