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Raising a child with a mental illness

From Saturday's Globe and Mail

A 10-year-old's violent rages force her parents to send her away. A Grade 1 girl is too terrified to sing O Canada at school. Over 800,000 families deal with childhood mental illness, often without help. ...Read the full article

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  1. Robert Morton from Toledo, United States writes: As a retired School Psychologist, I must say this article moved me. Unfortunately, most emotionally disturbed children in the US go undiagnosed and untreated. I have devoted this week's writings in my FAMILY JOURNAL Blog to such children. For the good of the order, enjoy the free video and by all means, pleae take the Poll in the right margin and read 'hot off the press' which shows current newspaper headlines about children with ED.

    http://familyjournal1.blogspot.com/
  2. linda sepp from toronto, Canada writes: Sometimes food allergies or other environmental or chemical 'sensitivities' can cause major changes in the brain which will manifest as emotional/mental health issues. Remove the trigger, and the behaviour miraculously improves.

    Unfortunately, most of the doctors who are able to check for, diagnose and treat these conditions are run out of town by the 'industry' that controls the system.

    Check out : http://www.drrapp.com/
    I don't know if the video links are still available here or on YouTube, but to watch the kids behaviour change as they came into contact with substances that their bodies could not handle was truly eye-opening. http://www.drrapp.com/appearances.htm

    There are people on this planet who should be ashamed of themselves for not training doctors about these issues, and subjecting thousands of children and their families to unbelievable traumas, that are mostly preventable.
  3. Glen from Canada from Canada, Canada writes: Once again I applaud the G&M, and specifically Ms Anderson and Mr. Picard, on continuing to enlighten us on the issues of mental health, but especially as related to our children and youth. The crisis runs deep for our kids (in Ontario one in five children have a mental health problem, and over half a million kids are not getting the help they need). The personal tragedies that these kids and families endure is unthinkable for most of us. The tragedy for our province and our country is that without adequate accessible community based children's mental health services and treatment, and support for families, these kids often end up in other more intrusive and costly sytems such as child welfare, jail, and hospitals. Also, these kids become adults in no time and this G&M series has well shown the crisis facing adults with mental health problems. I really respect and admire the courage of families to share their stories about child and youth mental health.
  4. june Conway Beeby from Kingston, Canada writes: Thanks to these loving parents for sharing with us their stories, making the everyday suffering of their innocent children palpable. They are articulate and brave beyond belief. And thanks to the G&M and its sensitive writers for alerting us to this injustice.

    Thanks, too, to the truth-telling prpfessionals who speak out about the frustratingly inept systems they must work in.Thank them for not giving up.

    Thanks to the angels in the articles (not nearly enough) who understood and offered non-judgemental support. They knew that mental illness is a no-fauk illness.

    And a big NO thank you and a bronx cheer to our government for ignoring these dear little Ontario citizens. Let Ontario policy makers learn more about the human brain and beging funding systems of care based on scientific knowledge. .Sweep aside the antiquated, never tested, never proven psychological and sociologcal theories to the history garbage bin where they belong

    Act now. These children have a narrow window of opportunity.
  5. Enduring Silence from Canada writes: As mental health issues often comprimes a genetic component many of these children are living in families where mental health issues pre-exist. (Often in single parent familes in poverty). Nationally, we need to incorporate a holistic or familial method of examining mental heath for both the good of children and their parents. By this I mean that we need to look at the whole family unit and how mental illness affects it - working in isolation with a family member and treating him/her with medication is no solution to a much larger systemic problem. All factors must be examained. There needs to be more funding ascribed to therapeutic modalities other than medication. Governments, on all levels, in this country, need to open their coffers and assist those struggling daily. If both the levels of government and the ministries within colloborate (i.e. Ministry of Health and Ministry of Social Development) they would find that their funds would go that much farther to assist both these children, many of whom live in poverty, and that in the end there would be greater health care for all. The key is for the ministries to work together (ie interact)!! I applaud the G&M for continuing to run this series. It is vital to enabling those with MH issues and, hopefully, those whose lives who've never been touched will be touched with some sense of humanity. I am constantly amazed at how far we have to go to de-stigmatze the world - this nation - regarding mental illness. As a parent who has struggled with the educational system regarding MH issues I thank you for this article. May our children hope to live in a better world than we do.
  6. inside view from Canada writes: I am all for helping children with high quality efficacious psychological or social work interventions. But let's also pull out all stops to protect children from harmful often inept psychiatry. I would also like psychiatry to explain how it created so many homeless youth by talking to middle and working class kids in disrress. Don't give me that decades old milarky about closed hospitals in the 1960s. I want an explanation for the disasters being created today by the soul and hope-destroying profession of psychiatry. Dumping distressed children on doctor-focused, and doctor mismanaged medicare is a mistake that can ruin their lives.
  7. inside view from Canada writes: Family systems therapy, psychological protection for children from abusive and or toxic parents and inept healthcare providers, healthy school and work environments free of bullying, the appointment of a mental health psychological officer of health to better work with informing and directing authorities, are all needed. Scapegoating groups by claiming that single-parented children comprise the mentally ill is not helpful. I note that most serial killers have two parents, who did not appear to perceive a problem requiring action on their part. Many families of those labelled mentally ill let out a sigh of relief that they were missed, just before socially bailing out on their child and taking on the role of 'helper'. As psychiatry, with its many, many sociologicial problems and struggles, tends to try to create low-level workers out of all patients and trample the potential of any it encounters, it really should be shunned where possible. Southern US states have long trained psychologists to write prescriptions to avoid the need for and wasted expense of psychiatry. We should do likewise.
  8. inside view from Canada writes: Isn't it time we studied the parents. What do they lack, do wrong, fail at, and how do they create, increase and maintain mental illness in their children? What is their payoff?
  9. C R from Canada writes: Yes yes, do your best to find someone to blame. This drives me crazy. Does no one stop to think about the way we (as whole society) treat children as lab rats.
    Enough has been done to make parents feel wrong and stupid ... and all together incapable of raising children without a novel from OPRA or Dr. Phil. Children are poked and proded (mentally) at school and in childcare. Look into Boards of Ed and Daycares and find out how often your children are under 'observation' for development, academics, social abilities etc...

    We live in an absurd way! We treat human beings lik labe rats and then wonder why they constantly feel out of control. Perhaps the child in the story was in need of some help; there is always a need to have help available. However the fact that 800,000 families struggle with children who have mental illness speaks greatly to the fact that we need to stop and take a very good look at the entire system. We need to think critically about the labels and sicknesses we are assuming children have. This may go a long way to gaining understanding instead of continuing to applaud the diagnosis of mental illness in children (to the tune of 800,000). Perhaps it is our standards that are off?
  10. The Bubble from Canada writes: I've had so much fun with my kids and continue to do so. I remember my son checking out the cereals once in a grocery store when he was 5 or 6 and I was barking at him to find out which had more sugar: fruit loops or captain crunch and told him to get the one with the most sugar while a couple of moms with their kids watched in horror. I've had so much fun with them. We used to go to a beach near Lindsay and hang out naked and catch snakes. I just don't understand, kids, especially your own are such a gift. You try to help sincerely but the system simply won't allow it. In the last behavioral class I worked in my boss repeated many times that without students in my class we would all be out of jobs and their only consideration was getting their funding, indeed, the principals number one concern, as we were told explicitly, was to make money. The administration of the school boards makes my stomach turn even almost two years after I resigned, it was too much to watch. I miss helping the kids but the administration almost literally killed me. The schools have become a breeding ground for mental illness and I don't say that to merely be insulting it is at the core of my belief that the Catholic board should go and the whole system radically redrawn.
  11. Ranish Raveendrabose from Winnipeg, Canada writes: I found this article powerful and moving. Thank you Globe and Mail, rarely do I find articles that have the ability to truly make me feel the pain of the families you describe. I am in undergrad right now and hope to get into med school and one day become a psychiatrist. I truly hope that I can one day help this functional yet crippled medical system.
  12. Enduring Silence from Canada writes: I just want to clarify that I am not blaming families, parenting or single parents for children's mh issues or situations. My point is that we need to look at the situation as a whole and treat them with all modalities, both the children and parents (other family members) as a unit. Address all mental health issues and treat them! If one family member has a mental health issue it is going to affect all others in the family. It has residual effects. Everyone needs to learn how to cope. If a mother has a mh issue and it is passed on to her child then both should receive assistance; furthermore, there should be some consultation about the functioning of the family unit as a whole to facilitate the complicatiions that MH issues bring to any life ... particularly a child's.
  13. C R from Canada writes: I disagree in a sense. If there are true mental health issues e.g. mothers passing down to children then it is the entire family unit that needs to be helped. Consider that if only the child is helped and the mother left to her own devices then the child still remains in the disfunctional home. I would suggest that the answer is not to deal mostly or primarily with the child, or to remove him or her; the greater thing would be to help the entire family unit. Children feed off of their parents; weather the 'system' understands or makes provision for that or not is moot. The entire unit must be helped or the cycle will simply continue.
  14. N C from Canada writes: Diagnosis for Dollars: Children are profit centers for school boards, psychologists, psychiatrists etc. The more labels and imaginary mental disorders children can be diagnosed with the more profit potential they have for school boards, psychologists, drug companies. Imagine a world without the hundreds of new subjective mental disorders in the psychiatric diagnostic manual the DSMIV: billions of dollars profit would be lost for school boards and drug companies; thousands of psychologists and psychiatrists would be out of a job BUT millions of children and families would be allowed to live happily ever after!

    Check out the latest research in the US reported by PBS - the psychiatrists that promoted bipolar disorder in children was paid millions by the drug companies. PBS also did an amazing doc on completely healthy normal children who were turned into permanently disable adults though the side effects of psychiatric dugs,
  15. Vic Vegas from Vancouver, Canada writes: People who have no experience with a truly mentally sick child have no concept of the distress, anxiety and terrible pain it causes the parents. In the case of autism, Alberta has better support structures than BC so I know of parents who have changed provinces to get the help they need paid for by the government and staffed with qualified people. It's amazing how much stress is taken out of families when competent professionals are involved. Bipolar and other serious psychiatric disorders all require a lot of expensive resources.
  16. Tamar Chansky from Philadelphia, United States writes: Thank you for this very thoughtful and informative inside look at the challenges facing families contending with mental disorders. I am a child psychologist specializing in the treatment of anxiety, OCD and depression. I see first hand how parents experience the double struggle-- first managing their child and managing a system, and second, managing a culture that doesn't understand. Articles like this one will help remove the stigma and lack of understanding surrounding mental disorders. Then families will be able to just focus on the issue at hand-- bringing their child back to health.

    I write books for parents and professionals to increase understanding of childhood disorders. Excerpts are available at www.freeingyourchild.com.
  17. Tom Wolfer from Kelowna, Canada writes: I enjoyed your article.

    There was an excellent article in the current issue of BC Business Magazine about how the City of Surrey's Mayor has done an excellent job addressing the issue of homelessness and mental health among youth and adults.
  18. The Wet One from Edmonchuk, Canada writes: Well, I guess I was lucky as child.

    I've lived since the age of about 12 until my 30's thinking of suicide daily. I now realize that is not 'normal.'

    12 is not that young, but it sure isn't adulthood.

    I was fortunate (as was my family) that I wasn't too mentally ill, but make no mistake, I was mentally ill. It wasn't until my thirties when a childhood friend who had since become a doctor was able to convince me that I had a problem that needed to be addressed.

    I regret the stress and strain I put on my mother through those years, asking her why I should live and why I should not kill myself. There wasn't much help for her to cope except to say 'I love you so much.' She managed, and I lived, but I know my illness aged her and put some real fear and hurt into her life.

    I also know that my case was relatively mild (compared to those kids who actually do kill themselves).

    The Globe has my kudos for bringing this story to light.
  19. N C from Canada writes: Watch CTV's A Convenient Diagnosis:
    http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20070316/wfivediagnosis070317/20070317?hub=WFive
    And make up your own minds about the reliability of psychological and psychiatric mis-diagnosis.
  20. Tracy Folkes Hanson from Canada writes: The G&M is to be applauded for bringing the issue of children's mental health 'out of the shadows'. All too frequently, stigma and discrimination inhibits people from recognizing this 'silent epidemic'. One in five children in Ontario struggles with a diagnosed mental health issue. Research supports that treatment works. Prevention and early intervention is key to securing a socially and emotionally healthy life. Why then does our society put up barriers to children and youth receiving the treatment they so desperately need? Parents, children, care givers, educators, health care and mental health care professionals need to work with policy makers to ensure no child or youth suffers - not on our watch. It's time we start talking about children's mental health and what we can do to make a difference in the lives of children and youth who need our help.
  21. grace kelly from Canada writes: (So many children have sensory issues) I noticed that this is not at all mentioned in this report. It is frightening to read articles like this that puts such a large spotlight on mental health that will always involve the use of medication. Many sensory problems are overlooked and diagnosed as A.D.H.D. O.C.D. Bipolar and so forth. Parents need to investigate what the sources of these problems are before accepting quick diagnoses. What is Sensory Integration? Overly sensitive to touch, movements, sights, or sounds. Underreactive to sensory stimulation. Unusually high/low activity level. Coordination problems. Delays in academic achievement or activities of daily living. Poor organization of behavior. Poor self concept. Raising a Sensory Smart Child: http://www.childrensdisabilities.info/sensory_integration/bkraisingsensory.html A good book to read just to start is: A Psychiatrist Exposes the Dangers of Mood-Altering Drugs by Peter Breggin, M.D. St. Martin's Press 2008 Medication Madness: Many categories of psychiatric drugs can cause potentially horrendous reactions. Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta, Xanax, lithium, Zyprexa and other psychiatric medications may spellbind patients into believing they are improved when too often they are becoming worse. Psychiatric drugs drive some people into psychosis, mania, depression, suicide, agitation, compulsive violence and loss of self-control without the individuals realizing that their medications have deformed their way of thinking and feeling.
  22. grace kelly from Canada writes: Here are some information links. Parents considering medication for a child, check these links out first and get informed. ________ 51 deaths among children and adults: Ritalin, extensively prescribed to calm hyperactive children in the UK, should carry the highest-level warning that it may increase the risk of death from heart attacks, US experts recommended yesterday. There have been 51 deaths among children and adults taking drugs for ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) in the US since 1999. http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2006/feb/11/health.medicineandhealth ____________ Leanne was prescribed Concerta about 2 months ago. She committed suicide. http://www.ritalindeath.com/Concerta-Suicide.htm Death from Concerta: http://www.add-adhd-help-center.com/concerta_review.htm The Food and Drug Administration requested that a warning be added to the prescribing information for all atypical antipsychotics regarding the risk of hyperglycemia and diabetes. This warning advises in part that hyperglycemia, in some cases extreme, has been reported in patients treated with atypical antipsychotics. Attached for your review is the updated full ABILIFYT (aripiprazole) prescribing information. http://www.fda.gov/Medwatch/SAFETY/2004/abilify.htm http://www.pharmcast.com/WarningLetters/Yr2006/Nov2006/AstraZeneca1107.htm Lilly May Face More Zyprexa Lawsuits After FDA Letter (Update2) http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=a_m6PfnY8YA0
  23. N C from Canada writes: ADHD was invented as a use for Ritalin by Big Pharma. True Story.
    There was no such thing as ADHD before ritalin.
    In fact ADHD was initially known as MBD.
    MBD is Minimal Brain Dysfunction.
    When the list of MBD 'symptoms' became too big; the DSM (the psychiatric diagnostic bible) split MBD into 2 different disorders: ADHD and LD (Learning Disability).
    And here we are today billions of dollars of profits for the drug companies at a cost of millions of children mis-diagnosed as Minimally Brain Damaged (LD &ADHD).

    Thanks to Grace Kelly for supplying the links above.
    Parents need to get informed - PBS is an excellent independent source.
  24. S Y from Toronto, Canada writes: Thank you to the families and children who had the courage to share their stories here. To NC - mental illness is complex as are the other health problems that children face. Your skepticism is a reflection of how difficult it can be for the general public to navigate and make sense of all of the mixed messages about even the simple VALIDITY of an illness. I applaud your willingness to question information and I challenge you to open your mind to the validity of what you are reading in the Breakdown series from G&M - The power of the media is becoming obvious. I find it useful to (as Dr. Davisdons does) - draw parallels between physical illness and mental illness when trying to understand the state of mental illness in this country.....no doubt the drug companies have a controversial role in the treatment of mental illness - particularly in children....however, as Erynn in the article demonstrates - medication can have a VITAL role in helping to manage the biological aspects of mental illness. biology x environment x development this is the interaction that takes place with children and teens. For a good understanding of how this happens - check out Ron Dahl's work available from the following link: Hospital for Sick Children - Conference Page: http://www.chsrgevents.ca/DevelopmentalPsychopathology/Agenda.aspx G&M - great work!
  25. Glenn F from Winnipeg, Canada writes: While I sympathize with the parents in this situation, and applaud them for working hard to get their daughter help (who seems to truly need it)... I worry about statements like this:

    'But they continued to fight the pressure to take her out of the regular school system and put her in a special-needs class. Erynn excelled academically under the right conditions...'

    The 'right conditions' often lead to adaptations to educational programs that give A-pluses for scribbles, and 100% for 1 out of 50 answers right.
  26. N C from Canada writes: Glenn F from Winnipeg, Canada writes: The 'right conditions' often lead to adaptations to educational programs that give A-pluses for scribbles...
    You are correct; if your child has IEP (ie Special ed) on their report card the grades are completely meaningless. Most kids in Special Ed are LD (Learning Disabled) and were mis-diagnosed and labelled in Ontario's Diagnosis for Dollars scandal. The definition used for LD to claim a billion dollars a year from the government was a definition of LD that had been discredited by the US government and its leading academics in the field.
    The reason is that the Ontario definition of LD massively overidentifies very bright children. You can guess which bright children were labelled.

    In addition billions of dollars were claimed under the behavioural profiles for ISA (Intensive Support Amount) that made unruly children worth up to $27,000 per year. This had the perverse incentive of rewarding schools for bad behaviour; is it any wonder that the schools in Toronto are now so violent?

    All this is well documented on the internet.
    The US and UK have recognised their mistakes in labelling kids LD and ADHD etc and have put in extensive reforms to stop the irreparable damage to children.
    When will Ontario and Canada follow the rest of the world?
  27. Sassy Lassie from Canada writes: Wow a powerful and moving article, I had no idea children as young as three could suffer from a Mental Illness. How utterly frustrating it must be for the caregivers and parents, Mental Health has ignored our youth for to long they need to impliment a plan that treats the children throughtout their lives.

    Again thank you for writing such a moving and thought provoking article.
  28. Cheap Skate from Vancouver, Canada writes: NC and Grace Kelly, Did you actually read the article or did you just put the usual pathetic 'Im all right Jack' brutal spin into your comments. Sure, there are problems with the drug companies, yes they are out to make a profit, and psychiatrists are sometimes wrong. But the condition our children suffer from still exists. What are you going to do to help the children who suffer these conditions?

    Please tell me, and the rest of the world what qualifies you to denigrate all people who suffer with mental illness and mental disability? By what right do you behave with such callous cruelty? How do you know that such conditions do not exist?

    By the way Grace Kelly, why did you not include the links to deaths by penicillin, eurythrimicin, paraplatinum, viagra, and all other drugs? Is it just the psychiatric drugs that you have a problem with?

    Your attitude is the same as that of a racist. The only difference is the condition of mental disability or health does not just affect one race. It affects all, so we never apply that epithet.
  29. annick aubert from toronto, Canada writes: You cannot just say 'mental illness', there are many forms of mental illnesses some not as debilitating as others,some short term ,some more or less life long with periods of recoveries and relapses. Before any progress can be made in the understanding or treatment of 'mental illness', may be we should stop trying to promote one practice over another and agree that there are as many remedies as there are illnesses, we should also note that what works for one person may not help another at all.
    While we are arguing the various governments sit back and enjoy our squabbles, the alternative treatments seeming to be favoured by our politicians as they do not rely on Ministry of Health funds. Community care also helps the bed shortage...Other good ideas, let us hear
  30. N C from Canada writes: Cheap Skate from Vancouver, Canada writes: NC and Grace Kelly..Please tell me, and the rest of the world what qualifies you to denigrate all people who suffer with mental illness and mental disability?
    Children who are genuinely severely mentally disabled (intellectual disabilities, autistic etc) are undoubtedly big losers in the Diagnosis for Dollars scandal. They are the other side of the coin to the millions of misdiagnosed children with imaginary mental disorders (LD, ADHD etc). The reason kids who are severely mentally disabled can't get the services they need is because the majority of kids with a mental disability label have nothing wrong whatsoever. However once these children are labelled with recently invented mental disorders, they become damaged by the label - the well documented self fulfilling prophesy - and these become problem kids that never fulfill their potential.

    You are right that this system of mental diagnosis is racist, because the majority of children who are targeted for these mental disorders (for which no medical or scientific evidence exists) are those from minorities, single parents etc. But children from wealthy homes are not excluded. It is only natural once a parent has bought into one of the newly minted mental diagnoses for their child and administered powerful drugs that could damage their child that they cannot admit the truth.
    As we said - do some research on the internet - PBS, BBC.
    Even in Canada CTV did a W5 doc called A Convenient Diagnosis and the CBC did J's Story.
    It is your duty as a parent to get informed.
  31. ImTheOne TellingYouHowItIs from Canada writes: inside view from Canada writes: Isn't it time we studied the parents. What do they lack, do wrong, fail at, and how do they create, increase and maintain mental illness in their children? What is their payoff?

    Unfortunately when it comes to something like Bi-Polar it really doesn't matter what the Parents 'do'? Unless it is not genetic and they are guilty of abuse Parents are pretty much useless in helping to cure or treat a disease like Bi-Polar. This isn't a simple thing that a little bad parenting can cause. What is their payoff?? I don't know what you are talking about. If you do not have Bi Polar you just can't know, and if you do zero research into it you have no right to suggest anything. Bi Polar is a beautiful thing, such highs and vibrancy, and such a devastating thing, such lows and darkness. It is this beast within you that is SOOOO hard to tame and if given the chance will morph into the Devil, taking control of your reasoning and realistic thinking.

    The Parents can pretty much do whatever they want, it all comes down to the person with the disease and their understanding of it and total awareness of it. Until the person affected can accept it and become one with it there is not much that can be done. I am weary of prescription drugs and am intrigued yet afraid of what 'normal' is. I choose to manage my Bi Polar through recognition and education. If I can understand the way it morphs within me and what the triggers are and not let it get too out of control to the point where I start making bad decisions then I should be alright.

    I am glad I have it for some things and not so much for others. The awareness needs to get better as we (the World) seem to live in this bubble and just kind of brush these sorts of things off. These are serious problems that the Parents or Kids are almost powerless to control.

    Good article!
  32. Cheap Skate from Vancouver, Canada writes: N C from Canada writes: if your child has IEP (ie Special ed) on their report card the grades are completely meaningless. -- What a stupid comment. Those with IEP's only get grades for those classes that they can meet specific criteria. You might as well say that all children's grades are meaningless. For an IEP, Teachers and SEAs are set support targets to help them address the needs of the child. The purpose is to guide the teachers and SEAs on what goals and targets should be set for children. Most kids in Special Ed are LD (Learning Disabled) and were mis-diagnosed -- Prove it! And get your numbers right. $27,000 is only for those considered the most disabled and is adjusted by the degree of support necessary. Most children recieve less than 10 hours per week. Only those recieving Full one on one support would get this amount. The total number of children recieving that amount is less than 10,000, which would translate into less than $300 million. Based on your numbers, and assuming that children get one on one support, there would be 33,333 special education assistants in Ontario working at one on one schemes. How many are there? All this is well documented on the internet. -- I'm sure it is, by people like you. You state opinion without any basis in fact and then use your own claims as a source of proof. When will Ontario and Canada follow the rest of the world? -- They already have. Rest assured. The government is doing its job. It is dening much needed services to people who need them. You pocketbook is safe. Just pray that the next time you are sick that they government doesn't decide that your illness should no longer be funded.
  33. Cheap Skate from Vancouver, Canada writes: ImTheOne TellingYouHowItIs from Canada writes: inside view from Canada writes: Isn't it time we studied the parents. What do they lack, do wrong, fail at, and how do they create, increase and maintain mental illness in their children? What is their payoff?

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    How stupid are you? How could someone maintain a mental illness in their child? Are you proposing that the health service maintains cancer in patients? Or that parents maintain diabetes in their children?
  34. Cheap Skate from Vancouver, Canada writes: N C from Canada writes: Cheap Skate from Vancouver, Canada writes: NC and Grace Kelly..Please tell me, and the rest of the world what qualifies you to denigrate all people who suffer with mental illness and mental disability?
    ----------------------------------------------------------------

    Answer the question. Ooops sorry, you have an agenda. Namely that everyone can cure themselves by sitting in a reading room. You will be jumping on your couch shortly.

    I asked what qualifies you to make these stopid statements and then you add more stupid statements.

    What qualifies you to determine that all these children are not suffering from mental illness?
  35. Cheap Skate from Vancouver, Canada writes: My apology to ImTheOne TellingYouHowItIs from Canada writes:
  36. N C from Canada writes: Cheap Skate from Vancouver, Canada writes: N C from Canada writes: if your child has IEP (ie Special ed) on their report card the grades are completely meaningless. --Most kids in Special Ed are LD (Learning Disabled) and were mis-diagnosed -- Prove it! And get your numbers right. $27,000 is only for those considered the most disabled.
    Don't take my word for it - just listen to what Ontario's Education Minister Gerard Kennedy said about the ISA Diagnosis for Dollars scandal in a press conference where he came close to accusing the school boards of medical fraud or you can read the accompanying government paper: 'Review of growth in claims for students with severe special needs' at this link:
    http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/funding/ssn/index.html

    You'll see that most of the doubling in ISA claims (from about $500 mill to over a billion dollars a year) came from two profiles - LD and Behaviour - each worth either $12,000 or $27,000 per named student per year.
    The controls to correct the ISA fraud (like Sarbanne-Oxley) were never put in place because Gerard Kennedy instead left to run for the Liberal leadership. The rest as they say is history....
  37. Cheap Skate from Vancouver, Canada writes: N C from Canada writes: You are right that this system of mental diagnosis is racist, because the majority of children who are targeted for these mental disorders (for which no medical or scientific evidence exists) are those from minorities, single parents etc. But children from wealthy homes are not excluded. It is only natural once a parent has bought into one of the newly minted mental diagnoses for their child and administered powerful drugs that could damage their child that they cannot admit the truth. As we said - do some research on the internet - PBS, BBC. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- On the internet there are cures for Autisim and Cancer. You need to read something other than the internet and watch television programs. Do some real reasearch. What parenting have you done that allows you to make the claim that a parents can't admit the truth? When have you ever had to make the choice? Its easy from the point of I'm safe to say its the parents fault. Walk a mile in my shoes first. As to the racism, it is you, not the system that is racist. You determine that you no best. You know how to treat 'these children'. You know what is best for them. Just like a racist.
  38. N C from Canada writes: Cheap Skate read the accompanying Ontario government paper: 'Review of growth in claims for students with severe special needs' at this link:
    http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/funding/ssn/index.html

    You'll see that most of the doubling in ISA claims (from about $500 mill to over a billion dollars a year) came from two profiles - LD and Behaviour - each worth either $12,000 or $27,000 per named student per year.

    The paper also describes how these two profiles became easier to attain (ie diagnose) and details the collusion between the psychologists, the school boards and the Ministry.

    Any parent with a child labelled with the mental disorder (real or imaginary) has a duty to read and understand this important paper and then ask the question why the Ontario government did not take the steps it recommended to fix the problem.
  39. Nathan Weatherdon from Canada writes: Excellent piece, that I expect will accomplish its goal of improving awareness, which is a necessary first step leading to improved care.

    The closing bit of the article reminds me of a line in a song evidently written by a self-aware individual, who sings 'I'm not crazy because I take the right pills, every day.' It's an alternative rock piece ... It's not exactly the focus of the song, and I forget which band it is, but the point is that there is a role for the pharmaceuticals to play in this.

    The idea that people, through sheer strength of will, can overcome physiological and biochemical challenges is one of the most ignorant outlooks, in my opinion, that undermines an effective dialogue about this issue.
  40. bobbie t from Canada writes: Perhaps the reporter could have done a little more research into why so many children are having mental health issues. Were they born prematurely so proper and natural development was not possible? Were their mothers taking any prescription drugs during sensitive stages of development? I think it would be better to try and prevent these problems rather than focus solely on how to provide care after the fact.
  41. C R from Canada writes: bobbie t from Canada writes: Perhaps the reporter could have done a little more research into why so many children are having mental health issues. Were they born prematurely so proper and natural development was not possible? Were their mothers taking any prescription drugs during sensitive stages of development? I think it would be better to try and prevent these problems rather than focus solely on how to provide care after the fact.

    Agreed. Also, is there a differing opinion on weather or not a child of 3 should be being diagnosed with a mental illness, or if there is an alternative to this generalized assessment strategy? Further, what is the other side saying about a child in these circumstances...fair and open news presents two sides and the validity in each. This topic is too important for singular thinking.
  42. Michael Peter from Canada writes: Our children are toxic from the chemicals and heavy metals they are exposed to. They are causing the human species to evolve radically. Parents have no control over this. Schools punish the children who are different with segregation and expulsion. Amazing Amanda said it on You Tube. This severely autistic girl with the computer as a facilitator said that her human rights were being violated because the rest of society did not understand her language. I agree that we need to help these children learn to modify their own behaviour, to understand the flaws in their cognitive functioning. It takes lots of cognitive training and lots of money and yes sometimes it does take medication. The administration of medication needs to be carefully thought out.
  43. ImTheOne TellingYouHowItIs from Canada writes: Darn, apparently any mention of cocaine and opiates and the fast tracking of pharmaceutical drugs doesn't make it past the moderators. I wonder why?? Can't be any truth to these statements can there?? Can't knock the governments craving for money here can we, better moderate the post out.

    This is just another typical problem with the World. Hide it, make the stuff that actually works, illegal and instead regulate it. Offer prescription drugs that are more lethal and less effective and lie to people about them to make money and instead make more money on the black market with the illegal drugs. Please. Don't moderate this, these are facts and information that deserves to be talked about.

    Mental illness is not something to just toss a bunch of prescription drugs at. Unless your the Government or a pharma company. What bollocks.
  44. N C from Canada writes: Ritalin was banned in the UK for children under five years old recently, because of the very serious concerns of doctors about ritalin's effect on stunting growth and potential brain and heart damage in young children. Many of the other drugs for bipolar disorder, depression etc are similarly untested in children. Once a child is given these drugs it is impossible to know whether the mental disorder is a side effect of the drugs.
    This article is completely one-sided; how about some interviews with parents whose children have been mis-diagnosed with mental disorders?
  45. C. Peltonen from Canada writes: As a veteran of 30 years working with special needs I have been alarmed by the meteoric rise in the number of children who are given psychiatric labels, and then “treated” with powerful drugs. My intent is not to minimize what is happening with children who have significant problems, but the vast majority of kids who are labeled ADHD or bi-polar are too often healthy, highly active, distractible, exuberant, strong-willed kids who can be challenging for parents and teachers. A small number of them have extreme behavior problems, and their parents are often at their wits end with trying to find help for their children who really are “out of control”. However, giving them a label and telling them they have a brain disorder, then medicating them may be harming rather than helping them. The assumption that these children have a chemical imbalance is highly speculative, and not supported by well designed empirical studies. What is not speculative however, is that the misdiagnosis of psychiatric disorders in children is rampant.. It is because a typical assessment too often consists of nothing more than simple checklists that are highly subjective. Unfortunately, the problem is nearly always viewed as residing in the child, with little attention paid to the environment in which the child has to function. The authors do some research on functional behavioral assessment, and give parents information about a process that has been used successfully with extreme behavior challenges in both children and adults. A functional behavioral assessment focuses on identifying significant, child-specific environmental factors associated with problem behaviors. It provides valuable information regarding the function or purpose behind a child’s behavior. Intervention plans based on an awareness of 'why' a child acts out are extremely useful for understanding and remediating a wide range of difficult behaviors. It treats causes and not just symptoms
  46. N C from Canada writes: Leading psychiatrists in the US are under investigation for the millions of dollars they have taken from drug companies, but now the latest news from leading NY newspapers is that journalists have also been paid by drug companies to promote bi-polar disorder in children.
  47. N C from Canada writes: To read the full article about leading psychiatrists in the US are under investigation for the millions of dollars they have taken from drug companies and the journalists paid by drug companies look at this link:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/22/health/22radio.html?_r=1&hp
  48. Regine Alexandre from Montreal, Canada writes: Excellent article.
  49. Catherine Bailey from Richmond Hill, Canada writes: Re: Natural Therapies for mental illness: I echo Linda Sepps's comments, also, I'm very disturbed by Saturday's article on children/mental illness. Not because of the fact that so many misled parents have put their kids on drugs., but because the Globe has focussed on the very dark and dreary side of mental illness: drug therapy, which often leads children down a never ending hopeless spiral of despair. Can journalists please grow out of the middle ages and move on to the uplifting and hopeful modern world of natural therapies for mental illness? For heaven's sake, this is not new: Dr. Abram Hoffer (Victoria, B.C) has been treating schizophrenia since the 60's with vitamins, since then we've really moved ahead: Dr. Carl Pfeiffer, Dr. William Walsh, Dr. Greenblatt, Hyla Cass, Priscilla Slagel, Sherry Rogers, etc. Many have written and treated mental illness with natural remedies and many continue to recover. And the recovered patients have their stories to share: Canada's own Margot Kidder, who comes to Toronto to talk about her recovery? Or Autumn Stringam (recovered bipolar), Willy Darman (bipolar/ADHD), Deborah Merlin's 2 boys (ADHD - total recovery), the list goes on. In future issues of G&M I do hope to read more about natural therapies for mental illness. Please do some research into Alberta's Truehope formula for biopolar disorder, it's Canadian miracle story. adhdmom
  50. grace kelly from Canada writes: Hi Cheap Skate, I believe that we live in a world that allows us the freedom of speech. I do not read anything in my post that reads malicious intent. Everyone has an opinion and mine so happens to be, that you should take precaution and get informed first. You asked me if it is just psychiatric drugs that I have a problem with. No! What I have a problem with, is that we are drugging young children and yes, some of them to DEATH! Many children that do not need to take medication however, many parents get pushed into wrongfully drugging their children. I had the opportunity to view this story below and I could not agree more with this doctor Marty McKay. Here is the link if you are interested. If not, just ignore the link and ignore what I have posted. I was not trying to belittle or attack anyone, just given an opinion, just like you have. Marty McKay, a psychologist who has treated and assessed children for over 30 years, believes that 'Ninety per cent of children diagnosed as ADHD are misdiagnosed and drugged for no appropriate reason.' She points the finger of misdiagnosis at the school system and the psychiatric industry. Teachers, she believes, are not qualified to make these diagnoses, but do so regularly. They are in fact being asked to assess children through the use of psychiatric rating scales in which they check off behaviors. Check off too many behaviours and it can lead to a child being diagnosed as ADHD. The next step is to refer a child for psychological assessment, which McKay says, generally just rubber-stamps a teacher's diagnosis. ______ http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20070316/wfive_diagnosis_070317/20070317?hub=WFive
  51. grace kelly from Canada writes: Cheap Skate, I forgot about this link:

    The federal government wants to perform mental health screening on infants and get them started on drugs which they will take for their entire lives, if the drugs don’t kill them first. And you&8217;re going to pay for it, whether you want to or not.

    Already, children as young as 3, who wind up in the foster care system, are receiving psychiatric drugs for such disorders as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or depression, with over 60% of foster children in Texas, nearly two-thirds in Massachusetts, and 55% of foster children in Florida on as many as 16 different psychiatric drugs.
    http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2006/03/24/drugged-from-birth/
  52. grace kelly from Canada writes: Hi Catherine Bailey, thank you for sharing this information. I plan on doing some research with this information you shared.
  53. s p from Toronto, Canada writes: Mental health involves such a complex equation of variables that to make a strong assertion about the efficacy of drugs or treatments is to reveal your own ignorance.

    How many of us are truly qualified to comment on mental health? Psychiatrists are educated but of limited use without firsthand experience of a disorder. Parents may be experienced and educated but specific only to their child's condition. Every opinion must be qualified. In time we will possess the technology required to draw definitive conclusions. Until then, we must proceed with caution.
  54. Jung Frau from Switzerland writes: This article is profoundly moving. I too, wish, like Catherine Bailey, that for once someone would write about mental health from the holistic perspective. My son was diagnosed with schizophrenia when he was 19 (not a child). For the first three years he was on medications. We finally said 'no more' and took him off them because he wasn't getting better no matter what medication he was on. He has now been off medications for almost a year, and we are on a new roller coaster of worry. He is receiving vitamin and mineral support under the supervision of a holistic psychiatrist and we believe in this approach. He also sees a psychotherapist once a week. The problem is, once you take away the drugs, you are left with the original problem of what is it about you that cannot cope in a 'normal' way with life? My son is now learning to express his emotions for the first time ever, but at the same time this is really scary for him and for us. He will do everything he can to keep himself from becoming an adult. To protect herself (understandably) when my son becomes despondent and talks about suicide or exhibits self destructive behaviour, the immediate reaction is to want to put him back on medications so he doesn't kill himself under her watch. We have again refused the medication route. (People kill themselves on medications, too.) Being on supplements is great but it is only the beginning of a really tough road.
  55. Richard Dougherty from Spruce Grove, Canada writes: There needs to be access to (parents, other caregivers, significant others and children) and co-ordination and co-operation among those who advocate the many and varied drug-free options that have been proven to to effective for children who have mental and emotional problems. One thing needs to be made clear and that is these mental problems are not 'diseases' or 'illnesses' requiring conventional medical (usually drug) treatment. The worst thing you can do is send your child to a psychiatrist or general practitioner who will likely, as a first option, be very quick to write up a prescription for a harmful psychotropic drug which has no business in the body of a child whose brain and other body parts are still in development.

    R.D. from Spruce Grove
  56. N C from Canada writes: In the Globe today GABOR MATÉ Vancouver physician and author writes:
    theglobeandmail.com
    Among the major challenges we face, as a society, is the widespread lack of resilience of many young people. Resilience is the capacity to overcome adversity, to let go of what doesn't work, to adapt and to mature. Growing evidence of its absence among the young is as ominous for our future as the threat of climate change or financial crisis.
    A disturbing measure is the increasing number of children diagnosed with mental-health conditions characterized by rigid and self-harming attitudes and behaviours, such as bipolar disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, eating disorders and "conduct" disorders. Hundreds of thousands of American children under 12 are being prescribed heavy-duty antipsychotic medications to control behaviours deemed unacceptable and unmanageable.

    And the article concludes:
    To stay emotionally open and resilient, young people must feel connected to adults. To redeem their future, we must restore their emotional security. Supporting stable relationships with caring adults from birth through adolescence, in the home, in the schools, and throughout our entire society, must become an urgent national priority.

    Will the Globe start reporting both sides of the story?
    What psychologists have been doing to children in Canada's public schools (Ontario has a 95% monopoly) needs to be the subject of a major investigative journalism.
    Tens of thousands of children in Ontario have been deliberately mis-diagnosed with LD, ADHD etc for Ontario Ministry ISA Billions (Special Ed funding).
    This is a large scale medical fraud and the damage will continue until it is properly reported by the media.

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