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Independent TEENSCREEN Evaluation Research Project 

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Comments and evaluations

Nathaniel S. Lehrman, M.D., 10 Nob Hill Gate, Roslyn NY  11576; 516/626-0238;  former Clinical Director, Kingsboro Psychiatric Center, Brooklyn NY;  former Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Albert Einstein and SUNY Downstate Colleges of Medicine.


Comments and evaluations

This is an outrageous violation of the privacy of youngsters and their families. Its supposed purpose is to reduce suicide risk but there is no evidence that it does so, and it can obviously increase anxiety.  The questions about eye and dental difficulties are irrelevant.  Those about "nervousness,"  "fears" and periods of being down could be answered affirmatively by almost anyone, so they therefore serve to label normal people as in need of mental treatment - which increasingly means drugs.   But what's good for the drug business is not necessarily what's good for America.

The inquiries about alcohol, marijuana and opiate use leave positive respondents open to legal action and are therefore self-incriminatory - another violation of the constitutional right not to testify against ones self.  Those questions about "seeing" anyone at a clinic or hospital because of feelings or activity are also privacy violations.   So are inquiries about difficulties within the family unit, which could also be used against the interest of some of those involved.  And the notion that such gross intrusions will strengthen anyone's mental health is a total fraud.

Other questions coming to mind are:
1. How are these surveys to be used?  Who are the "professionals" supposedly evaluating them (although, as a "professional" since 1947, I can state flatly that these surveys are worthless as indicators of mental illness)?  Which agencies, and how many, will have access to them?  Who will decide whether an evaluation referral should be made? To what extent will the surveys, and the "findings" of those evaluating them, be available to school personnel - who might then be ibetter able to blame the youngsters' so-called mental illnesses for their own pedagogical failures?

. How are these surveys to be kept? What assurances are there that they may not be used later against the children?

Teen Screen Survey Excerpts:

1. ³Who spent the most time taking care of you in the past 3 months?:

Both parents

Mother, only

Father, only

Grandparents (s)



Foster parents

Other adult²

.      ³In the last three months did you have trouble seeing the chalkboard²?

.      ³Do you wear glasses²?

.      ³Have you seen an eye doctor about this²?

.      ³In the last three months.did you have a toothache²?

.      ³Have you seen a dentist about this²?  

Could state Child Protection Agencies use the answers to these questions
against parents?


.  ³In the last three months.have you often felt very nervous and uncomfortable when you have been with a group of children say, in the lunchroom at school or at a party²?

.      ³Have you often felt very nervous when you had to do things in front of people²?

These are so common, and normal, as to be meaningless.


.      ³For this question, I want to know if you have ever had a sudden attack of feeling very afraid.   In the kind of attack, I mean someone becomes very afraid even though there is nothing around them to frighten them.  Sometimes they feel they can¹t breathe sometimes their heart beats very fast.  The attacks come on very suddenly, then goes away, but they get afraid that the attacks might come back. In the last three months have you had an attack when all of a sudden you felt you were very afraid or strange²?   

.      ³Have you had a time when you were suddenly feeling like you were suffocating or you couldn¹t breathe²?

.      ³Do you have asthma²?

.      ³The only time you felt afraid or couldn¹t breathe was when you were having an asthma attack²?



5.      ³In the last three months: .Have often worried a lot before you were going to play a sport or game or some other activity Have you had a lot of headaches²?

.      ³In the last three months have you had other aches and pains²?  

.      ³Are you the kind of person who is often very tense, or finds it very hard to relax²?  


.      ³Some young people have times when one thought comes into the mind over and over again. When people have these thoughts they usually get upset, because the thoughts are strange.  No matter how hard they try the thoughts keep on coming back.

Now I am going to ask you if you have had thoughts like these in the last three months
.  Have you had to count things over and over again? Or make yourself do things a certain number of times²?

.      ³In the last three months was there a time when you washed your hands  or body over and over again or changed your clothes many times each day because you thought they were dirty²?

. ³Have you often felt you should check on things over and over again? For example:  checking that the front door is locked or the stove is turned off or that something else was done, though you knew it had been done²?

. ³In the last three months have you often worried that things you touch are dirty or have germs²?
Considering the current fear-based media broadcasts, Center for Disease Control Flu Pandemics, vaccine pushing, Homeland Security, HIV educational films, TV advertising replete with antiseptic cleanliness that kill e-coli bacteria in the kitchen, an affirmative answer to this question would be normal.  (agreed with other reviewers, name Ms.Dannemann)

.³Have you had any other thoughts that kept coming into your mind over and over again that you couldn¹t get rid of²?

.  ³In the last three months:

Have you done things like counting, checking, washing, over and over again because you like to do these things²?

.  ³Have you done these things like counting, checking, washing, over and over again, only because you¹ve been told by someone else to make sure that you¹ve done them right²?

.   ³In the last three months:

Have you wished you could stop yourself doing things like counting, checking or washing over and over again²?

. ³Have you spent a lot of time each day doing things like counting, checking or washing over and over again say, for as long as an hour²?


.  ³In the last three months:

Has there been a time when nothing was fun for you and you just weren¹t interested in anything²?

Many adolescents would answer this question in the affirmative as are bored having been over stimulated via TV-movie-video hyper stimulation (agreed with other reviewers, namely Ms. Dannemann)

.  ³Has there been a time when you had less energy than you usually do²?

This is a question that most everyone on the planet would answer yes to.
(agreed with other reviewers, namely Ms. Dannemann)

19. ³Has there been a time when you felt you couldn¹t do anything well or that you weren¹t as good-looking or as smart as other people²?

This is a typical adolescent concern (agreed with other reviewers, namely Ms. Dannemann)

..  ³In the last three months:

Has there been a time when you thought seriously about killing yourself²?

.   ³Have you tried to kill yourself in the last year²?

Many adolescents experience normal swings of depression and pathetic suicide attempts when confronted with dysfunctional families, divorces, isolation, lack of attention due to both parents working in today¹s culture.  But these meager attention getting attempts do not compare to the actual suicide attempts of those adolescents on black boxed SSRIs and antidepressants such as Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft, Ritalin, Adderall, Zyprexa, etc. which this TeenScreen survey has chosen not to identifiy as a variable.

.  ³Has there been a time when doing even the little things made you feel really tired²?

..   ³In the last three months:

Has there been a time when you couldn¹t think as clearly or as fast as usual²?


 ³I have just asked you about the last three months
.  Now, I want you to think about the last year².


.   ³The next questions are about you use of alcohol-beer, wine, wine coolers, or hard liquors like vodka, gin or whiskey.  Each can or bottle of beer, glass of wine or wine cooler, shot of liquor, or mixed drink with liquor it it counts as one drink.

In the last year: Have you had six or more drinks²?

An affirmative answer, depending on the age, would be most likely.

.  ³Did you get in trouble with the police when you were drunk or because you had been drinking²?

.  ³In the last years:

Did you get into arguments with your family or friends because of drinking²?

This is a likely scenario as drinking makes one sloppy and aggressive.

.  ³Did you miss school to go drinking or because you were hung over²?

An affirmative answer is likely if there is drinking going on


.  ³In the last year:

Have you used marijuana six or more times²?

29.³Did you miss school to use marijuana or because you were too high

     on marijuana to go to school²?

30  ³In the last year:

Did you get into arguments with your friends and family because you were using marijuana²?



31.  ³Have you used any opiates to get high.  This includes things like codeine, Demerol, morphine, percodan, methadone, Darvon, opium, Delaudid, Talwin and so on².

³In the last year:

Have you used any of these to get high²²?

32.  Have you used any kind of hallucinogen? This includes LSD or ³acid², mescaline, peyote, DMT, psilocybin and so on.  Have you used one of these?

33.   In the last year:

³Have you used stimulants or amphetaminesŠlike speed, diet pills, Benzedrine, methamphetamine or anything like that to get high²?

34  ³Have you used cocaine or Œcrack¹?²

35.  ³In the last year: Have you used heroin²?

36.  ³Have you used PCP or ³Angel Dust²?

37   ³In the last year:  ave you used ecstasy²?

38  ³Have you used any inhalants like glue, cleaning fluid, gasoline or paint to get high²?

An obvious omission! Young people have been known to use friends ³prescription drugs² such as sniffing RitalinŠor parent¹s prescription drugs such as oxytocin.   Where is the list of psychiatric drugs, SSRIs and anti-depressants?  And the question that pertains to borrowing friends¹ or stealing parents¹ prescriptive drugs?


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This material is distributed without profit.

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