Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Depression Test

By screening all teens, doctors hope to identify those with mental disorders

By Shankar Vedantam
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Soon after her sister committed suicide, Caroline Downing started doing poorly at school. During math tests she would freeze up, and she found her mind wandering constantly. Officials at St. Andrew's Episcopal School in Potomac gently suggested that the high school sophomore get a mental health screening.

The idea of a psychiatric evaluation sent chills down the spine of Caroline's mother, Mathy Milling Downing, who believed that her younger daughter, Candace, had committed suicide because of an adverse reaction linked to a psychiatric drug -- the antidepressant Zoloft. Shortly after Candace's death, the Food and Drug Administration placed black-box warnings on several antidepressants to say they elevated suicidal thinking among some children. If Caroline were going to get the same kind of mental health care as Candace, Downing wanted no part of it.

Read more HERE.

1 comment:

LegalBeaglette said...

Ms. Downing became “a fan of mental health treatment done right.” Aren’t we all? Her daughter’s school “gently” recommended mental health screening for cause. It did not mandate it, and it did not pursue the “screening” over the parent’s objections, or without the parent’s knowledge and consent. There were clearly issues, observed and acknowledged by the parent, the child, and the school. Further, I note that Ms. Downing – the parent – set a clear ground rule: No drugs. She had experienced the horror of mental health treatment done wrong. Done wrong by a doctor…a child psychiatrist…a trained professional.

What I find highly objectionable here is screening for all adolescents between the ages of 12 and 18. I know far too many parents now who have desperately sought appropriate mental health care for their children and not found it. Meet the need that exists…there is no need to go trolling for it.