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[Fred A. Baughman Jr., MD:
"mental disability is not a scandal - it is an illness. And like physical
illness, it is treatable." ]

NAMI E-News                May 6, 2003                   Vol. 03-23

Statement of Darcy Gruttadaro, Director
NAMI Child & Adolescent Action Center

Today's hearing by the Committee on Education & the Workforce Subcommittee
on Education Reform in the House of Representatives on "Protecting Children:
The Use of Medication in our Nation’s Schools."  represents yet another
exercise that will generate sensational headlines and alarm parents, while
obscuring the true nature of a public health crisis- in a way that
trivializes mental illnesses 

[Fred A. Baughman Jr., MD:
by which they mean disease/physical
abnormality, having a prognosis, requiring treatment (when, to begin with,
there is no disease/abnormality needing to be made normal/more nearly

in children and the need for early identification and

This is the third House hearing on the topic, skewed against

[Fred A. Baughman Jr., MD:
their every illusion/claim of disease is a a lie and is
patently, abjectly, antiscientific]

, against treatment

[Fred A. Baughman Jr., MD:
no disease--no treatment is justified, much less

, and against principles of partnership in communities.

On September 29, 2000 

[Fred A. Baughman Jr., MD:
at which I testified it was a fraud for any
physician to call any mental/psychiatric condition/diagnosis a disease.
David Fassler, MD of the APA and AACAP, seated to my immediate left said not
a word in rebuttal (SEE:
Committee on Education and the Workforce
Hearing on
Behavioral Drugs in Schools: Questions and Concerns
Washington, DC
September 29, 2000)]

, the oversight subcommittee of the House
Committee on Education & the Workforce held a hearing on the alleged
"overmedication" of children with ADHD.  On September 26, 2002, the full
House Government Reform Committee held a hearing on the same topic. Today,
it is the Subcommittee on Education Reform. Here we go again.

Unfortunately, all these hearings are focusing on largely anecdotal and
unsubstantiated claims that our nation's children are being overmedicated
with psychotropic medications - when well documented reports and studies
show that the overwhelming majority of children with mental illnesses are
never identified and fail to receive treatment. 

[Fred A. Baughman Jr., MD:
Here again, the
fraudulent claim of "illess"/"disease"/medical-physical abnormality and the
need for "treatment" when the only diseases are illusory. Such is true of
every psychiatric "illness"/"disease"]

That is the concern of the U.S. Surgeon General.

It also is the concern of President Bush, who last year declared: "Millions
of Americans, millions, are impaired at work, at school, or at home by
episodes of mental illness. Many are disabled by severe and persistent
mental problems. These illnesses affect individuals, they affect their
families, and they affect our country."

President Bush also declared:  "Remarkable treatments exist.  Yet many
people - too many people - remain untreated.  Some end up addicted to drugs
or alcohol. Some end up on the streets, homeless. Others end up in our
jails, our prisons, our juvenile detention facilities.  Our country must
make a commitment: Americans with mental illness deserve our understanding,
and they deserve excellent care. Political leaders, health care
professionals, and all Americans must understand and send this message:
mental disability is not a scandal - it is an illness. And like physical
illness, it is treatable, especially when the treatment comes

[Fred A. Baughman Jr., MD:
Here again, their mantra: "mental disability is not a
scandal - it is an illness. And like physical illness, it is treatable."
Without the illusion of disease, there would be nothing to treat. Lying, as
they do in every encounter--saying a disease of the brain is present is to
abrogate informed consent and is medical malpractice. This must be made the
strategy in courts of law, surely such cases can be won.]

Unfortunately, the Subcommittee seems not to have heard the President's
message nor to have reviewed well-documented reports that show the tragic
consequences of the nation's failure to identify and treat children with
mental illnesses.  Suicide remains the 3rd leading cause of death for our
nation's 10-24 year old children and young adults and research identified in
the U.S. Surgeon General’s report shows that up to 90% of those young people
have a diagnosable mental illness.

If the Subcomittee wishes to protect children – it should focus on the unmet
needs of children with mental illnesses and their families and the real
crisis that currently exists in this country. Congress should heed the call
of the U.S. Surgeon General to address the need for the early identification
of mental illnesses in children and intervention with appropriate treatment.
Partnerships should be fostered at the federal, state and local levels
between the education system and other child serving agencies and families
to ensure intervention and treatment for early onset mental illnesses.

The Subcommittee should reject legislation that would restrict school
professionals from communicating with families about legitimate mental
health concerns and recognize that lack of communication inevitably hurts
children and families. The importance of open communication between school
professionals and families about the health and well-being of children, and
if necessary, the freedom to recommend comprehensive medical evaluation
cannot be overstated.

Heed also the recommendation of the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health
appointed by President Bush. The mental health service system must consider
new ways to deliver care to children "in a place long overlooked, our
Nation's schools."  Interim Report of the President's New Freedom
Commission on Mental Health, November 2002. Legislation like H.R. 1170 –
now part of the House bill to reauthorize IDEA (H.R. 1350)- undermine that

Decisions about appropriate medication for a child with a mental illness
rests exclusively with parents and medical professionals—where partnership
also is required.  Medication is not the only option for families and should
be considered in conjunction with a range of treatment options.  NAMI hears
from thousands of families across the country about their inability to get
treatment and services for their child with a mental illness.  That is the
real crisis. NAMI asks that the Subcommittee  support President Bush, the
Surgeon General, and millions of American families in addressing this very
real concern instead. 

[Fred A. Baughman Jr., MD:
Even former Surgeon General David Satcher, had
to confess, in small print, at the very end of his overly long propaganda
piece on the medical nature of mental "diseases" (12/99 Report of the
Surgeon General on Mental Health) that their actually is no such thing as a
mental/psychiatric "disease" physical, medical abnormality. The first and
only physical disease/injury/abnormality in psychiatry is that due to the
drug(s)/ECT/psychosurgery. ]

The NAMI E-News is an electronic newsletter delivering
the latest in federal action alerts, legislative and policy
updates, and NAMI press releases.  Provided free of charge
as a public service, the NAMI E-News is read by more than
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legislators, media, providers, health care policy experts, and
others interested in improving the lives of individuals with severe
mental illnesses and their families.

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Thank you.

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