News mental screening - A violation of parental rights

President Bush’s bold mental-screening programme has already hit some snags. The programme aims to screen every US citizen over the age of three years, and to prescribe antidepressants as appropriate.

The parents of an Indiana teenager have filed a lawsuit in the federal court claiming that their privacy and parental rights have been violated by subjecting their daughter to mental-health screening without their permission.

The daughter had been told that she had obsessive-compulsive disorder and social-anxiety disorder. Other teenagers screened at the same time were also told that they had “some mental or psychological disorder” (BMJ, 2005; 331: 714).