Petition against Australia's 'Healthy Kids Check', screening 3 year olds for 'mental illness'
  • Petitioned The Hon Mark Butler MP, Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Australia

This petition was delivered to:

The Hon Mark Butler MP, Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Australia

Petition against Australia's 'Healthy Kids Check', screening 3 year olds for 'mental illness'

    1. Petition by

      Kristen Morrison


Later in 2012, the Australian Government's 'Healthy Kids Check' will see General Practitioners (GPs / family physicians) begin screening three year old children for early signs of mental illness.
GPs will be trained to identify Indicators including:
~ temper tantrums
~ sleeping with the light on
~ anxiety
~ extreme shyness
~ unwillingness to sleep in own bed, etc.

Whilst not occurring in all children, these are completely normal childhood behaviours, and yet children deemed to be 'at risk' will be referred on for additional help, where they may be incorrectly diagnosed, and/or given psychiatric drugs as 'early intervention'.

The Healthy Kids Check will also test for problems including allergies, hearing and vision, which will make this service seem attractive - at least to some parents.

The concerns are:
~ Behaviours described above are completely normal
~ Some parents will not question their doctors' findings and will therefore accept a diagnosis without seeking alternative advice, or trying to establish the cause of their child's behaviour
~ This kind of labelling will create a culture of paranoia whereby parents worry that their child has a mental illness because he/she throws a tantrum / is shy / is afraid of the dark!
~ Parents are being robbed of their right to parent their own children to encourage emotional wellbeing, to develop social skills and to overcome unwanted behaviours
~ Parents who fear the misdiagnosis of their children will in some case avoid medical help, to their child's detriment.

Children are born to parents who are entrusted to raise their own children, just as we all were raised. This new 'Healthy Kids Check' threatens Australian families by attributing responsibility for children's emotional wellbeing to the government and to health professionals trained by the government, using a flawed diagnostic tool.

Some of the $11 million dollars being spent on this program could be better spent educating parents about good nutrition and reducing the levels of toxins in our air, our water, our soil and our food.

Education is the answer, not toddler screening, drugs and overdiagnosis.

Recent signatures


    1. Petition has been sent to Canberra

      Kristen Morrison
      Petition Organizer

      I have just sent 37 pages of 1033 Signatures to The Hon Mark Butler MP. Thanks again everyone, lets keep it going.

    2. Reached 1,000 signatures
    3. Only 41 signatures needed

      Kristen Morrison
      Petition Organizer

      Thanks everyone for your support this week, we've gained over 400 new signatures since Saturday. We need another 41 before I send this off at 4pm tomorrow afternoon, AEST.

      See attached article by Dr Joe Kosterich:

      "This is officially due to start on July first! Whilst it may be well intended, like all poorly devised screening programs the harm will dwarf any benefit. The notion of screening this age group for “risk” of mental health problems in later life is fundamentally flawed. Normal three-year-old children are and should be emotional. They should run around, have short concentration spans, be pushing the boundaries and scream."

    4. Reached 750 signatures
    5. New Zealand's program screening young children has some scary statistics...

      Kristen Morrison
      Petition Organizer

      Since 2008, New Zealand has had a similar program screening young children for mental illness. The attached article states: "In the same period, Pharmac figures show a 140 per cent increase in antidepressant prescriptions for 0 to 4-year-olds between 2009 and 2010, and an average 10 per cent increase in mood-stabilising drug prescriptions in the last five years for children aged five and over."

      We need to at least raise awareness for the fact that this screening is NOT mandatory. And here's hoping they're not screened at kinder without your knowledge... But how could we ever know?

      And as the last parent in the attached says, so many parents 'just sign those things'.

      Sign people, sign. (the petition, that is.)

    6. We've reached 500!

      Kristen Morrison
      Petition Organizer

      Thanks so much everyone for your support. Let's keep the momentum going and reach 1,000 before the end of June. We can't let this go ahead....

    7. Reached 500 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Allison Worsdell MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA
      • about 2 years ago

      3 year olds are still developing a personality, this policy sounds extremely strange and unnecessary.

    • James Garner MOUNTLAKE TERRACE, WA
      • about 2 years ago

      Drugs are not the answer to real or imagined mental problems.

      • about 2 years ago

      That's messed up!

    • Shanta HOrlander SEATTLE, WA
      • about 2 years ago

      Because it is completely dishontorable to the children. And because it will ruin our chance for a good future if you drug all the children!

    • Wendy Gittos THORNLIE, AUSTRALIA
      • about 2 years ago

      There are too many 'legitimate' reasons to medicate children, don't look for another one!


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