There has been a great deal of controversy in Syracuse surrounding initiatives which would implement routine depression screening in the community. The controversy surrounding such initiatives becomes even more heated due to Syracuse parents who do not want their children ruined secondary to being stigmatized as being mentally ill if routine depression screening is instituted in the Syracuse public school system.
Psychiatrists and psychologists in the United States and Canada have been pushing for routine screening for depression. There has been a great deal of resistance to this idea by mental health care activist groups such as “The Harold Mandel, MD Natural Mental Health Care Reform Association”, due to fears that such routine screening would cause far more harm than good.
There is support for such concerns in an article by Fran Lowry for Medscape Today, “No Benefit, Possible Harm From Routine Depression Screening.” According to research which was published in the September 19 edition of the Canadian Medical Association Journal routine screening for depression in primary care, of the type recommended by organizations in the United States and Canada, has not been shown to be beneficial, and may in fact be harmful. The authors of this study have also written that in this era of fiscal restraint, this screening is a waste of valuable healthcare dollars.
Lead author Brett D. Thombs, PhD, from McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada has said that in Canada right now, more people are taking antidepressants than actually are suffering from depression, and clearly the same is true for the United States. He has also said “In Canada, 7% to 8% of adults over the age of 35 are on an antidepressant, whereas the estimated rate of depression in the population is 4%. In the United States, 15% of adults over 35 are on antidepressants, and this far exceeds the rate of depression in that country, so we’re putting more people on medication than actually need it.”
It is clear that instituting routine screening for depression and other mental illnesses would only increase the numbers of people who are hurting from the archaic nature of the pseudoscience of psychiatry coupled with the chronic incompetence and unethical conduct of the psychiatrists themselves. Overall it appears people are generally better off being advised to adhere to natural mental health care interventions such as eating well, meditation, yoga, massage, getting fresh air and sunshine, and regular exercise to prevent and treat depression.
Photographer: Arvind Balaraman
Mandel News Service