Minnesota Legislative Woes: Following Up With Action

Where Illinois just sits and sits and sits…..

The Dangers of Universal Mental Health Screening

Legislation in Minnesota Mental health screening legislation will affect all Minnesota children in public, private, and home schools.

They seem to be doing something about it. And it helps that they have Karen R. Effrem, M.D., Pediatrician and Policy Analyst .  (I can’t find the link to this alert but will forward the message to anyone interested) 

Either they learned from IL’s Childrens Mental Health Act fiasco or they’re right on top of it all the time. We sure weren’t/aren’t and I hope people are contacting Senator Schoenberg (senator@jschoenberg.org ) here in the Land of the Cutting Edge: with the sharp, green teeth of federal grant money ).  Illinois has been such a obliging receipient of our unjust rewards.  From the Federal Action Agenda:

Action:Award State Mental Health Transformation Grants

Much of the work of system transformation will take place at the State and local levels. This is why the Commission has vested in States one of the most critical elements of system transformation: creation of state-specific Comprehensive State Mental Health Plans. 

[lots of standing at attention and Yes, Leader Napoleon and Done, Leader Napoleon]

President Bush’s Fiscal Year 2005 proposed budget contained $44 million and Congress appropriated $20 million to help States develop comprehensive plans. SAMHSA’s CMHS will design, implement, and evaluate a 3-year State Mental Health Transformation Grant program to support State efforts to develop a Comprehensive Mental Health Plan. These grants are expected to support State mental health services infrastructures and to promote implementation of science-based mental health interventions. SAMHSA will help grantees identify prototype State plans and provide technical assistance to customize these plans for specific State needs.

[More of the same with the reply from Uncle Sam of Well Done, Comrade Illinois .] 

In the first year, States will be required to conduct statewide planning and infrastructure development efforts across multiple service systems to better meet the complex needs of adults with serious mental illnesses and children with serious emotional disturbances and their families. Consumers and family members will be actively involved in these statewide planning efforts.

Forgot the part about consumers and family members being involved. [Not Important, Comrade.  Saying it is the important part

 Over time, the goal would be to award a grant to each State. A coordinating center will be funded to provide technical assistance and other resources to help States accomplish the objectives of this program.

Action:Provide technical assistance to help States develop Comprehensive State Mental Health Plans

CMHS will be contracting with a number of national mental health organizations to provide technical assistance to States in the development of activities and plans to implement the New Freedom Commission recommendations. Written analysis of onsite training and technical assistance will be delivered on a range of policy issues that impact the development of a comprehensive State mental health system.

Not necessary.  Illinois is THE model.  

Good luck, Minnesota. I know you fought them off in 2005.  You have hope.  

The Minnesota legislature is considering universal mental health screening for K-12, pre-school, all kids at least once by age three, and infants. Mental Health screening is subjective and inaccurate in children. Diagnoses very often reflect simple behavioral issues or politically incorrect attitudes and values. Powerful medications with serious side effects are almost always used as the treatment.

 Below is the Illinois contribution from a 2005 Columbus Dispatch series:

Martha Hellander, of the Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation in Illinois, says she has seen babies who cry for hours, 2-year-olds who fly into unprovoked rages and 3-yearolds who try to jump out of moving cars.

‘‘The medication is essential for these kids," said Hellander, the group’s research policy director.

 In Illinois, we’ll just pop another pill and our families will ‘feel better’? in the morning. Not me.  Not my kids.


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