A campaign against Mental Illness?

You might have seen it. It’s an ad where teens have labels stuck on them with various psychiatric disorders. They peel off the labels to reveal their special talents:

“20 Million Kids & Adolescents are labeled with “mental disorders” that are based solely on a checklist of behaviors. There are no brain scans, x-rays, genetic or blood tests that can prove they are “mentally ill”, yet these children are stigmatized for life with psychiatric disorders, and prescribed dangerous,life-threatening psychiatric drugs. Child drugging is a $4.8 billion-a-year industry. Get the facts about this multi-billion dollar industry that is labeling and drugging kids for profit.”

I can say that sometimes I’ve wondered if I have ADHD or at least ADD myself, but then I also wonder if the mess of synapses I’ve got actually contributes to things I like about myself, like my creativity. I remember once being on prozac and noticing my depth of feeling and passion dry up a bit. Perhaps it was the wrong medication. I don’t take it anymore.

To imply that mental illnesses aren’t real is dangerous, though. I don’t think that a diagnosis has to mean a person is, as the cause suggests, “stigmatized for life.” I do think sometimes drugs help. I also think sometimes their side effects might not be worth it and that needs to be carefully weighed out. But… I don’t know. Do you think kids are over-drugged, or does a campaign like this only further stigmatize the kids who really do need help?

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