Why Are Texas Politicians Eager for School Mental Health Services?
By Carole Hornsby Haynes, Ph.D. June 4, 2019
Adapted from May 31 letter sent by American Citizens Matter to Governor Abbot, requesting veto of Senate Bill 11, House Bill 18, and House Bill 19
It is a known fact that pharmaceutical companies spend far more than any other industry to influence politicians. Thus, the public should be concerned that so much emphasis by our Texas political leaders has been placed on setting up mental health services on school campuses and the partnering of Texas schools with private psychiatric hospitals to which students will be referred for inpatient care and medication.
Ignoring certain legislative rules and with threats to key conservative lawmakers to get on board or face severe retaliation for their own bills, Senate Leader Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House speaker Dennis Bonnen rammed mental health services bills through both houses during the 2019 legislative session. They were directed by Governor Greg Abbott who declared mental health services on school campuses would make Texas schools safe from gun violence. He announced this to be his “emergency item.”
Mother of all mental health bills was SB 10, part of which was eventually attached as an amendment to SB 11, creating a mental health consortium comprised of the psychiatry departments of Texas medical schools which work with pharmaceutical companies. This is a direct conflict of interest and great cause for the public’s concern.
Since the early 1990s the psychiatry profession has been pushing for “mental health screenings” to find new patients. Pushing community mental health providers into public education means a steady revenue stream created through diagnosing children with “mental disorders” who will then be treated with drugs purchased from pharmaceutical companies.
Numerous admissions by highly trained psychiatric experts and groups indicate that psychiatric diagnosis is guesswork and that even highly trained experts following patients closely are not able to predict violent behavior. Experts interviewed after the Sandy Hook shooting, made this very clear.
The media claims that guns are the cause of school shootings yet ignore a crucial factor. A disturbing number of perpetrators of school shootings and similar mass violence were either on – or just recently coming off of – psychiatric medications. Some of the most high-profile examples of this include: Columbine, Eric Harris; Stockton, CA Patrick Purdy; Winnetka, Illinois Laurie Dann; Paducah, Kentucky Michael Carneal; and President Reagan shooter John Hinkley.
Nikolas Cruz was given a threat assessment and mental health treatment, yet that did not deter his violent shooting at Parkland school.
The fundamental cause of most psychiatric disorders is not understood. If the cause is not known, there will be many students who will be misdiagnosed. Yet that subjective mental health report will follow a child for a life time, even if the child is normal. This can pose lifetime consequences -- perhaps being shut out of a job or the military or losing Second Amendment rights.
Many will be given highly addictive psychotropic drugs known as neuroleptics that create dependency and an array of adverse side effects. The rate of antidepressant use in the United States increased nearly 400 percent over the last two decades. One in six U.S. adults reported taking a psychiatric drug, such as an antidepressant or a sedative.With the mental health services program for Texas schools, drug addiction is certain to become a crisis in Texas as it is nationally.
Mental health education for students is required under House Bill 18 and SB 11. This is highly problematic because these courses can be tools for indoctrinating children, altering their belief systems and worldviews. Children are very susceptible to suggestions and can be led into believing they have a mental illness where none exists.
Massive amount of personal data will be collected with even more by the federal government for programs using federal grants. There is no medical confidentially protection for this data. None of this is protected by medical confidentially (HIPPA), due to the gutting of FERPA and the requirements of ESSA. Records of assessments, whether real or imagined by a mental health provider, will follow children the rest of their lives, in violation of their Fourth Amendment right to privacy.
HB 18 encodes the partnering of school districts with private mental health providers for services, presumably psychiatric hospitals. There is much evidence about the fraud perpetuated by these private mental health providers.
The 1990s was an era of major psychiatric hospital fraud, so rampant that entire chains of hospitals were shut down. In 1992, Texas State Senator Mike Moncrief testified before the U.S. Congress about the agreements between psychiatric hospitals and Texas schools to provide counseling services with students then being referred for inpatient treatment. Senator Moncrief noted that books and other materials were used as marketing tools to fill hospital beds or to direct children toward medication. He also testified that patients were “cured miraculously” on the day their insurance benefits ran out.
Currently, an Arlington, Texas based psychiatric hospital chain is under criminal indictment for a variety of abuses, including illegally admitting and holding patients against their will.
There are effective ways to ensure school safety, including hardening campuses and vigilance. Subjective mental health risk assessments will not keep schools safe. The mental health services established by these bills serve only the industry, with opportunity for much fraud and abuse. More student data will be collected and stored for sharing with others, violating the Fourth Amendment right to privacy for students and their families.
Instead of morality, public education teaches subjective morality – moral relativism – as a newly invented thing under the heading of “political correctness.” If there is no right or wrong, how can we expect positive moral behavior from students? How can we expect them to value the lives of others?
Education must be returned to its original classical academic intent with the responsibility to care for their young left to parents. There must be a reset on morality with schools teaching “old fashioned” morality instead of the squishy “no right or wrong.”
Finally, the relationship between the pharmaceutical industry and Texas politicians bears reviewing.
Letter from American Citizens Matter to Governor Abbott to veto SB 11, HB 18, and HB 19