Monday, June 18, 2012

Expert warns against child mental health checks

Mental Healrh Conference Australia
Professor Allen Frances

One of the most influential psychiatrists in the United States says the Federal Government's program to screen three-year-olds for mental health problems is "ridiculous" and potentially dangerous.

By Eleanor Hall -  ABC Radio

Australian preschoolers are set to be screened for early signs of mental illness as part of the Government-funded Healthy Kids Check, which would be voluntary for families.
The Australian Medical Association (AMA) supports the initiative but says the evaluations must focus on broad-based problems rather than individual things like fear of the dark or fear of monsters.

The Healthy Kids Check will be predominately conducted by GPs who will refer children with troubling behaviour to psychologists and paediatricians.

The program will cost $11 million over five years and is expected to identify about 27,000 children who would benefit from extra support.

But Professor Allen Frances, an Emeritus Professor at the Duke University, has raised concerns about the scheme... more

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