Remember when you were young and those first ‘back to school’ days? You put on your new socks and underwear, new shoes all clean and perfect? And for the girls, the skirt your mother let you pick out and a blouse to go with it? The boredom in the freedom of summer holidays had eventually set in (as it always did) and now the excitement of meeting your new classmates, hoping against all hope that your best friend was in your class. The sinking feeling you got when you thought you might get Mr. or Mrs. ????? for a teacher?!’ I recall it with fondness and a deep sense of nostalgia.
If school was anything, it was safe and I loved it. Teachers had their programs and their personalities and their methods. Some were great, some were not, but the funny ones were the best. Every class had at least one clown, always fooling around and getting into trouble and in looking back, every class had kids who couldn’t quite grasp what was being taught, who fidgeted and upset the scheme of things. Every class had a kid who’s parents were somewhat lacking in the ‘how to raise a child’ category and so they were usually unruly and troublesome to the teacher. Or the kids who would do anything for attention… Back then, they were put in the corner or sent to the principal’s office or scolded or, when the teacher was pushed beyond their breaking point, the strap.
Not so today. School is not safe for children anymore. Sad statement, but true. Ask a teacher – any teacher, how many kids in their class are on ‘medication’ for some sort of learning or personality disorder. Drugs such as Ritalin, Concerta, Adderal, Metadate, Vyvanse, Provigil. Drugs that even the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration classifies as Schedule ll, in the same class of highly addictive drugs as morphine, opium and cocaine – these are ADHD medications. Teachers are now being taught how to recognize ‘mental illness’ in children or, even scarier ‘early warning signs’ of mental illness. Now I am not in any way in favor of the old ways, of corporal punishment, but to label a child, stigmatize him and then put that child on drugs is just beyond comprehension.
There is now a (not so) new program, put out by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, exported from Australia called Mental Health First Aid. What is Mental Health First Aid? Per their (Canadian) website their purpose is “to share the same overall purpose as traditional first aid – to save lives”. Mental ‘CPR’ so to speak.
Mental Health First Aid has been (or is in the process of being) implemented in England, Australia, United States, Wales, Scotland, New Zealand, Sweden, on and on ad nauseam….. And what effect can this have on our children’s lives?
The MHFA Canada for Adults who Interact with Youth Course is designed to enable teachers to recognize a ‘mental illness’ or the ‘warning signs’ of mental illness in children in, among other places, the classroom.
Their long-term vision for Mental Health First Aid is:
‘In the next ten years, we hope that Mental Health First Aid will become as common as CPR and First Aid training. Mental Health First Aid has the potential to reduce stigma, improve mental health literacy, and empower individuals.’
And what might this mean to those kids all of us remember being in the classroom with? The unruly ones, the fidgeters, the sad ones, the attention grabbers. It means that they don’t stand a chance. It means they will be evaluated, sent to a doctor and prescribed some sort of medication – that their lives will become a drug induced haze. But you can bet your bottom dollar that they’ll ‘snap to it’. Their malleability becomes a certainty. But what of the child?
If a teacher, doctor, counselor or anyone says your child has a ‘mental disorder’ and needs to be on ‘medication’, ask for a lab test or a blood test or x-ray – ANYTHING to substantiate this claim. They won’t be able to do it because this test does not exist. Your child will have been diagnosed most likely from a ‘checklist’ of symptoms OR from a teacher who’s taken a 6 hour course via Mental Health First Aid Canada who, having bought the bulls*#t is now ‘totally devoted to Promoting mental health and wellness for youth in Canada’ and the United States…and England…and Sweden….New Zealand….
**NOTE: I know there are a lot of caring, loving and supportive teachers and school administrators out there who don’t agree with what’s going on. This is not intended for you, but acquiescence will not change things. Please speak up.