November 20

TeenScreen Operations Have Shut Down


 The following announcement was posted on TeenScreen’s website (November 15, 2012): 
"Important Announcement for Schools & Communities:  We are sorry to inform you that the TeenScreen National Center will be winding down its program at the end of this year. Accordingly, we will no longer train or register new programs."

No explanation was given.

TeenScreen was a highly controversial, aggressive, medically dubious mental health screening protocol  developed with federal funding by Dr. David Shaffer, chief of child psychiatry at Columbia University.  It was administered by Laurie Flynn, former Executive Director of NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness) who ushered in the pharmaceutical take-over of the organization.

From its inception, TeenScreen was a flawed tool that misidentified 83% of the time, normal adolescents as having undiagnosed mental illnesses which (it was claimed) put them at risk of suicide.   In 2004, Dr. Shaffer acknowledged in his published article that  "in practice a specificity of 0.83 would deliver many who were not at risk for suicide, and that could reduce the acceptability of a school-based prevention program."  See Ref 7

Despite its acknowledged unreliability as a screening tool, President Bush’s New Freedom Commission for Mental Health recommended (in 2003) the use of TeenScreen for all school-aged children in the 50 states. The NFC also recommended adhering to the TMAP mental health prescribing guidelines (TMAP = Texas Medication Algorithm Project). 


TMAP was exposed as an industry-initiated marketing scam by Allen Jones, a whistleblower who uncovered the evidence of corrupt marketing practices–including fraudulent claims of safety and efficacy, and kickbacks to government officials and prominent academic psychiatirsts that let to the meteoric profits generated TMAP.

In essence, these two radical "test and treat" protocols vastly increased the client roster for Big Pharma and mental health providers, providing cover for an unconscionable, ruthless business model.

TeenScreen facilitated a steady flow of  adolescents deemed "at risk" who would be prescribed psychotropic drugs recommended by the TMAP Guidelines.  These highly toxic drugs carry Black Box label warnings because they have been linked to irreversible, debilitating, chronic or fatal injury in patients at normal prescribed doses.    To combat the  adverse effects of any one of these drugs led to presribing additional drugs (drug cocktails) ensuring life-long psychotropic drug dependence.                                              
The question that remains is, what led to the dissolution of TeenScreen?

Vera Sharav

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