Citizens Committee on Human Rights

The Mental Health Watchdog

Australian National Office

Call for Accountability of Funds Given for Mental Health

Mental Health Group Wants Funding Directed to Non-invasive Methods and Parents Informed of Alternatives

Money going Down a Drain on Map of AustraliaMental Health watchdog the Citizens Committee on Human Rights (CCHR) handed out its award winning documentary The Marketing of Madness: Are We All Insane to those attending a Youth Mental Health Conference being held in Melbourne Friday. Conference convenor, Prof. Patrick McGorry used the meeting to call for more funding for mental health, but CCHR says there is no accountability or transparency of existing funds. The DVD highlights the need for parents in particular to be fully informed about potential risks of psychiatric drugs recommended for children and youths and the medical and educational alternatives. They want to see the funding channelled into safer alternatives.

The need for accountability was highlighted by Professor Frank Oberklaid, director of the centre for Community Child Health at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s who spoke on Friday saying how important it is to develop a scientific consensus on the best way to tackle the problem before throwing money at it. He said, “What does science say? What does the research say about the best way to address these problems? Then cost it out properly and then introduce that over a period of time.”

Spending on mental health programs has nearly doubled from $516 million in 2007-08 to $940.2 million in 2008-09. Despite this additional funding Prof McGorry who has received substantial funding from drug companies that make psychiatric drugs, claims that half of us will experience mental illness during our lifetime. CCHR charges that if funds were spent effectively, the rate of mental illness should be declining. There is an overrepresentation of funding to drug treatment which can lead to many having a life-time dependency on the psychiatric system.

To often parents are not told of alternatives to psychiatric drugs. Psychiatrists also do not tell parents that there are no physical tests including no blood or urine tests or brain scans to confirm any of the mental disorders that youth can be being diagnosed with and prescribed powerful drugs known to cause debilitating -even deadly – effects.

There have been 217 deaths linked to antidepressants in Australia, including 4 in the 10 to 19 age group in Australia. In 2007/08 there was a staggering $3.2 million spent on antidepressants on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme for children under the age of 18.

Contact Shelley Wilkins at CCHR on 02 99649844

CCHR was established in 1969 by the Church of Scientology and Professor of Psychiatry Thomas Szasz to expose psychiatric violations of human rights.