Help Prevent 1​.​25 Million 0 to 3 Year-Olds from being put at Risk of Psychiatric Drugs

Help Prevent 1​.​25 Million 0 to 3 Year-Olds from being put at Risk of Psychiatric Drugs

0 have signed. Let’s get to 2,500!


There is an alarming recommendation to screen all 1.25 million Australian children aged zero to three years old for “mental illness” and “emerging mental illness,” putting them at serious risk of potentially dangerous psychiatric drugs. When our closest neighbour, New Zealand, implemented screening of children aged 4 & 5 years old, within 4 years prescriptions of antidepressants to 0-4 year olds increased by 140%.

Mental health screening is the use of a non-scientific checklist, based on opinion, to diagnose a child with a mental illness or to identify a child with possible mental illness. There are no scientific tests to confirm a psychiatric diagnosis (no blood tests, x-ray, scan or urine test). 

Screening questions are so subjective that any child is at risk of being diagnosed with a mental illness. For example, symptoms for mental disorders in 0-3 year olds include: difficulty sleeping, tantrums, losing track of a favourite stuffed animal and hyperactivity. All of which could be normal childhood behaviour.

Most people do not think it is even legal to give a toddler powerful psychiatric drugs and do not know that no antidepressant is even approved in Australia for children under the age of 18 for depression. Most also do not know that no-one should stop any psychiatric drug without the advice and assistance of a competent medical doctor. There has been a steady and alarming increase of prescribing to very young children.

·         In 2007/08 Australia had 201 children under the age of 3 years old on psychiatric drugs, 53 of these were younger than one.

·         In 2015 there were 7,817 2-6 year olds on antidepressants, antipsychotics and “ADHD” drugs.

·         1,768 adverse drug reactions have been reported for antidepressants and antipsychotics in Australia in children aged between 0-19, including 14 deaths.

It is proposed that maternal and child nurses in community health services expand the current physical checks being done to include behavioural screening.  Any identified children would be referred for further assessment and possible diagnosis which will again be based on a subjective checklist, which could potentially result in a psychiatric drug being recommended. The existing physical checks are usually recommended for the infant or toddler at: 1-4 weeks, 6-8 weeks, 6 months, 12 months, 18 months, 2 years and 3 years old, so a child could be screened for “mental illness” each time.

This spells a serious risk to a percentage of 1.25 million Australian children aged 0-3 who could be given psychiatric drugs as a result of this screening.

This recommendation has arisen out of the Australian Productivity Commission’s Inquiry into Mental Health. They are the Australian Government's main review and advisory body on economic policy. The recommendation as written may seem harmless – checking emotional well-being. Of course we all want to see our children healthy. However, terms such as "emotional and social well-being" are now used instead of "mental illness." As one expert stressed when advising Australia’s federal government, other language for “emotional and social well-being” should be found rather than using “mental illness” and mental health terminology, which is a whole different ballgame. Terminology is being changed in an attempt to hide what is really being recommended.

The number of toddlers already prescribed potentially dangerous psychiatric drugs is set to greatly increase if this recommendation is implemented. Doesn’t Australia already have too many toddlers on drugs that could cause damaging effects to their developing brains?

Our infants and toddlers should not be put at unnecessary risk of psychiatric drugging.

This recommendation must not go ahead. Please help stop it by signing this petition.

Please share this petition with your family and friends.

For more information & references to the above please visit: https://cchr.org.au/0-3-year-olds-to-be-screened-for-mental-illness

If you or your child have been diagnosed and have experienced side effects to psychiatric drugs please let us know by filling out this confidential form https://cchr.org.au/report-psychiatric-abuse