Monday, December 20, 2010

Pharma's amazing miracle

If I were a parent who's child returned from his or her first semester on campus with a prescription for Abilify or lithium in hand, I would want to sue the university for promoting drug addiction and encouraging depression. Check out this horror story in the New York Times. This story laments the number of students arriving on campus taking drugs for various mental health issues (and predictably overdosing on the drugs they brought from home), and it endorses the idea that it's then okay to conduct surveys asking students if they are depressed. 

Pharmaceutical companies are, of course, behind these screenings. Follow the money.

She learned she had clinical depression. She eventually conquered it with psychotherapy, Cymbalta and lithium. She went on to form a Stony Brook chapter of Active Minds, a national campus-based suicide-prevention group.

On recent day, she was one of two dozen volunteers in black T-shirts reading “Chill” who stopped passers-by in the Student Activities Center during lunch hour.
 “Would you like to take a depression screening?” they asked, offering a clipboard with a one-page form to all who unplugged their ear buds. Students checked boxes if they had difficulty sleeping, felt hopeless or “had feelings of worthlessness.” They were offered a chance to speak privately with a psychologist in a nearby office. Sixteen said yes.

The depression screenings are part of a program to enlist students to monitor the mental health of peers, which is run by the four-year-old Center for Outreach and Prevention, a division of mental health services that Dr. Hwang oversaw before her promotion to director of all counseling services.

This story also is witness to the triumph of Abilify's image and market make-over from an antipsychotic to an antidepressant.

The New York Times does not allow comments to this article. It would be flooded with critical comments if it did.


  1. Rossa,
    I love your passion and agree with your sentiment, but the propaganda is spread pretty thick. Couple that with "follow the money" and you have a cry in the dark heard only by survivors, and those aware already of what you're saying.

    Depressing, really. Thank goodness I know there are ways to deal with that.

  2. Rossa,

    Why do so many of these people want to be the poster child for mental health?


    Their stories never seem to end...

    Things were tough, and then they finally saw a "doctor", and got on "medicine" (these are hardcore drugs, not medicine!), and now all is fine in their world.

    It would be a good thing to check in with these poster children a few years down the road, and document their comments at that time...

    After the long-term use of psychiatric drugs has taken its toll, unfortunately... sadly.

    It's unfortunate that the "treatment" that is advocated at colleges has psychiatric drugs in the mix...

    Young people, just starting out in life... being fed a myth, an absolute myth, by yet-another mental health poster child under the guise of being a "counselor"...

    In this case, a woman who hasn't a clue to the risk of the long-term effects (these are not "side effects", but effects) of the mind-altering drugs she promotes!


    No more mental health poster children who promote drugs.

    Not one more...

    We're losing lives here...
    In this case, young lives.

    It's tragic, and it needs to stop...
    And we need to begin to tell the poster children to stop it!

    So, here goes: "Stop it!"

    Duane Sherry

  3. "The New York Times does not allow comments to this article. It would be flooded with critical comments if it did."

    No doubt.

    I was astounded when I read this article when it first came out. My mouth just dropped wide open at the blatancy of it. "Well, I'll be," I muttered. Maybe people can email the author. I've done that a couple of times.


  4. Remember the Moonies who used to stop young people on street corners near universities to ask them if they wanted to take an IQ test? Well, Active Minds is doing the same kind of thing with its "depression" quiz, invited onto campus with the full blessing of the adminstrations. We now have "legal" student drug pushers. E-mailing the author is a good idea.

  5. Anonymous,

    It was sad that there was no place to comment on the article itself.

    Thanks for emailing the author.
    You encouraged me to do the same.

    With appreciation,



I am no longer approving comments. All I ask is that you be respectful of others and refrain from using profanity.