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National Mental Health Survey Fails to Ask About Prescribed Psychiatric Drugs

The United Hospital Fund, a research and analysis organization, has released a report titled The Ripple Effects of the Adolescent Behavioral Health Crisis”  which apparently reflects survey data on substance use, mental health issues, and treatment (or lack thereof) among adolescents in the U.S., New York State and New York City. Based on this report, it appears that nobody is getting better.

This forty-page report spews so many numbers it’s hard to comprehend just how bad the mental health problem is for any given age group. But the report has bigger problems. For example, the smartest guys in the room who put together this report made a fatal error, and the report should be used as confetti.  One only need review the survey used to collect the data to see that the highfalutin analysts apparently have failed to ask those surveyed whether or not they had been on prescription psychiatric drugs, when, what kind and for how long. Why? Where are the “fact checkers?”

How is this possible unless the goal of the data collectors is to create a behavioral health problem where one does not exist? And, perhaps, if one were to see the numbers of those surveyed, complaining of thoughts of suicide and depression, were actually on prescription psychiatric drugs, maybe the public might understand the role those drugs are playing in the increased numbers of suicide, depression and other mental health conditions. 

Can one really accept that these respected analysts just decided not to separate which adolescents were on prescribed psychiatric drugs for “treatment” of a mental illness and those who are not on a psychiatric drug? Clearly those numbers would reflect totally different data. It actually becomes embarrassing trying to accept that such respected organizations would leave out important prescription drug data. But maybe the reason for the missing data is reflected in the associations for those producing the data. 

The United Hospital Fund, a nonprofit that claims to have no ties to big pharma has partnered in producing this report with Boston Consulting Group that has a division devoted to servicing biopharma.   It doesn’t take much to realize that pushing “unmet” needs equates to swaying the funding of massive behavioral health and big pharma with taxpayer dollars.  This massive billion-dollar industry has created a survey that leaves out the most important question… Are you currently on, or have you been prescribed in the past, behavioral health medications? 

This is important information in today’s world. Too often the behavioral health community cries that more resources (money) are needed. But those cries are based on incomplete data like what is provided in this recent report. What appears to be happening is that the mental health community does not want the world to know, that despite decades of mental health intervention (prescription drug use) NO ONE IS GETTING BETTER.

More importantly, a large portion of these prescribed psychiatric “treatments” carry black box suicide warnings that increase the likelihood one will commit suicide and, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) even taken as prescribed these drugs can be addictive.  One can only wonder why those putting the surveys together don’t want to capture and separate behavioral health medication data in the targeted population to determine whether the drugs are helping or actually contributing to the increased suicides and continual poor mental health of the US population. One thing is perfectly clear. Despite decades of prescribed psychiatric drugs to “treat” those suffering from mental health diagnoses, the problems get worse, and nobody is getting better. That’s a problem.