Friday, January 14, 2005

New "not so free" dumb plan

According to this article (thanks Advice Goddess) Bush is planning to have the entire US screened for mental illness. Apparently this is called the "New Freedom Plan." But from this article it sounds like people think its more of a way to create a bigger market for expensive psych treantments and drugs. Funny cause they've outlawed all the fun drugs and now they want to have us evaluated so they can force us to take other drugs. I suddenly feel like we're on the path to a very 1984 existance. Maybe that's cause I've been reading all these alarmist articles.

AAaaaanyway. After a little searching I found this. Apparently the president has appointed a Mental Health Commision (in 2001) and they have created this fascinating report.

goal 1
Americans Understand that Mental Health Is Essential to Overall Health.
Goal 2
Mental Health Care Is Consumer and Family Driven.
Goal 3
Disparities in Mental Health Services Are Eliminated.
Goal 4
Early Mental Health Screening, Assessment, and Referral to Services Are Common Practice.
Goal 5
Excellent Mental Health Care Is Delivered and Research Is Accelerated.
Goal 6
Technology Is Used to Access Mental Health Care and Information.

So goals 2 and 3 here sound kindof like they might be wanting to provide funding for these people to help them get the care they need. (Personally I think the first goal is more about industry than it is need for mental health, people've been fine for centuries without it) And there is a lot of language in here about maintaining the patients right to determine their own care.

"Quality screening and early intervention will occur in both readily accessible, low-stigma settings, such as primary health care facilities and schools, and in settings in which a high level of risk exists for mental health problems, such as criminal justice, juvenile justice, and child welfare systems. Both children and adults will be screened for mental illnesses during their routine physical exams. "

Obviously you'll have no problems finding websites decrying this action, so rather than post those I'll let you google them on your own. However I think that if people want to seek help for a mental illness it is their business and the government should keep to themselves about it. ESPECIALLY the REPUBLICAN administration. Also I'm not particularly concerned because this sounds pretty expensive, and we're all out of money. But then, that hasn't stopped Mr. Bush before.

So here we go a mental health system that provides screenings through primary physicians and schools:

Ease of diagnosis for mentally ill individuals.
Individuals who may not have gotten care previously will get it now.
Mental health care becomes more commonplace (not just for the crazy folk)

Mental health research is changing constantly and misdiagnosis and wrong handling of diseases are likely to increase and can cause further problems.
Individuals who may not need treatment may end up getting treatment at the cost of the state.
Individuals who may not WANT mental health treatment could be coerced.
Will the screeners and doctors be thinking in the patients best interest? How much influence will perscription drug companies have in this program.

So I don't know if they are actually planning to implement this. Clearly the costs would be astronomical and I don't think it would be very popular to boot. I wonder how long until the mainstream media picks up on this.