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April 10, 2005
Scientologists and Mental Illness
Read more... Schizophrenia Advocacy
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)
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.
Posted by szadmin at April 10, 2005 01:18 AM
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