April 10, 2005

Scientologists and Mental Illness

There is much good research going on in schizophrenia - with new advancements being announced almost every day.

But - there are always some groups stuck firmly in the 15th century, and one of these groups is (ironically enough) known as "Scientology" - which for some unknown reason believes that every organ but the brain can be get damaged or diseased. Its as if they've completely ignored the progress in neuroscience and schizophrenia during the past 100 years; a truly disturbing situation. How many thousands or tens of thousands of children could be hurt by the delays of treatment caused by these recent effots by Scientologists?

This story (see below) is just in from Florida. We think advocacy groups nationwide will work very hard to counter these ill-informed efforts by scientologists and others who may have similarly uninformed opinions:

St. Petersburg Times (Florida)
April 9, 2005 Saturday

Scientologists push mental health law

Opponents say the legislation takes advantage of lingering stigma and will deter parents from seeking help for their children.

Legislation backed by an offshoot of the Church of Scientology aims to discourage public school students from seeking mental health services.

The measure would require schools to tell parents that any mental health treatment would be part of a student's permanent record, which is true only in limited cases now.

It also would require school officials to tell parents that no medical test can diagnose mental illness, they can refuse psychological screening and that students can't be barred from school activities if they refuse treatment.

[Editorial note - it will be interesting to see what Scientologists do when blood tests for schizophrenia -- or other similar tests -- finaly make it to wider availability - though of course, with these types of bill they never will]

The bills (HB209 and SB1766) are being pushed by the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, or CCHR, established in 1969 by the Church of Scientology to carry out its mental health mission. Scientologists oppose psychiatry and other mental health services.

The sponsors, Tampa Republican Sen. Victor Crist and Miami Beach Republican Rep. Gustavo Barreiro, were guest speakers recently at Scientology's anniversary celebration. Crist touted the bill at the event and Barreiro gave the church an award for its volunteer efforts during last summer's hurricanes.

Barreiro acknowledged that the Scientology group approached him about sponsoring the bill and wrote parts it. But he said he's sponsoring the bill because he believes in it.

The legislation is being fought by several mental health organizations, including the state Office of Suicide Prevention.

...opponents say the bill could dissuade some parents from seeking treatment for a child with mental illness.

Mental illness is noted in student records only if the school is involved in treatment or the illness requires special education, according to the state Department of Education.

Opponents say the bill's backers are taking advantage of the lingering shame over mental illness to further an anti-psychiatry agenda.


Having been diagnosed with psychosis NOS I can say that without Seroquel a drug used to treat schizophrenia that I would not be allowed to live with my children, or even in society. I would be committed to some psychiatric treatment facility or I would be homeless on some street scared of the world and all that is in it. It's easy for someone to say that you shouldn't take a drug, but let them try to treat me off the drug, and then you tell me if they would still disapprove of medications for mental illnesses. I don't know what is wrong with my brain but I do know that if I go off the medication that I will lose everything that is on this earth, and although going off the medication would create an entirely new world for me in my head, I know that as long as I live on earth, that I need to be able to function on earth and take care of my responsibilities, namely my husband and my children. Today I homeschool my children, am a medic with the rescue squad and am renovating a house. Without this drug I would be huddled in some corner terrified to eat because I felt that God wouldn't want me to eat food with labels on it.

Posted by: Jennifer at June 28, 2005 04:55 AM

After Scientologists have focused on major disaster zones such as the tsunami last year, this doesn't suprise me. Trying to dissuade victims of utterly traumatic experiences from seeking mental health advice is simply another example of their ignorance and selfishness.

Posted by: Christian at July 2, 2006 04:12 AM

Hi, I have a friend who has been in the state mental hospital for 6 mos. and was just told she will be there for at least another 6 mos. (against her will). The whole thing is a nightmare.. She's being held 6 hours away from her nearest friends or family and its obvious to all who know her that she was doing much better out here than in there. Her family is very passive and wont do much to help, as a friend, what can I do? Any tips would be greatly apprieciated! (evilamazon_chick@yahoo.com)

Posted by: Sarah at November 27, 2006 03:45 PM

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