Australia: Preschool Temper Tantrums Are Not a Mental Illness

  • By: Care2.com
  • Target: Australia Minister for Mental Health Mark Butler
The Healthy Kids Check program in Australia plans to screen 27,000 three-year-olds for signs of mental illness--even if they are exhibiting normal child-like behaviors. The program will encourage false diagnoses, needlessly placing Australian children under psychiatric treatment.

The nationwide program considers behaviors such as sleeping with the light on, temper tantrums, children not sleeping in their own bed, and extreme shyness as signs of mental illness.

The intent of the program is to systematically identify early signs of mental illness. But under Healthy Kids Check, preschoolers who display common age-appropriate behaviors will be screened by a general practitioner for possible psychiatric counseling. Some mental health experts fear that this will lead to unnecessary medication of very young children.

Tell Australia's Minister of Mental Health Mark Butler to amend the Healthy Kids Check program.
Dear Minister Mark Butler,

Australia's nationwide program, the Healthy Kids Check, is set to screen 27,000 healthy three-year-olds for signs of mental illness. The program's interpretation of mental illness signs is dangerously broad--including behaviors such as sleeping with the light on, temper tantrums, children not sleeping in their own bed, and extreme shyness as signs of psychiatric dysfunction.

Do not let the Healthy Kids Check continue with a flawed strategy that will surely lead to misdiagnosis and unnecessary treatment. By systematically screening young children for signs of mental illness, the program will label healthy kids as abnormal in the name of prevention, not treatment.

Amend the Healthy Kids Check program so that normal and healthy behaviors exhibited by three-year-olds do not warrant a visit to the psychiatrist. Do not federally fund medical mislabeling and misdiagnosis.

Sincerely,
[Your Name Here]
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