CCHR: Mental Health Screening Month – 1 in 5 Now Prescribed Psychiatric Drugs

Each year the month of October is recognized as National Depression and Mental Health Screening Month with the stated purposed to “bring awareness to the need for depression awareness and the need for accessible and affordable mental health screenings” and October 10th is recognized as World Mental Health Day.

However, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), a watchdog organization that investigates and exposes abuse in the mental health industry, believes such observances are less about helping people and more about profit. [1]

Recent reports show that the number of people in the United States taking psychiatric drugs is up 6.4% in the last year, which equates to 1 in 5 Americans – 65 million people. Additional information from the CDC shows that across the country “18 states have seen a 10-20% increase in the number of people taking prescription mental health medication in the last year.” [2]

“$225 billion was spent on mental health treatment in 2019 which was a 52% increase from 2009 and investors poured $1.5 billion into the market in 2020,” stated the president for the Florida chapter of CCHR. “Mental illness is a very profitable business in the United States.” [3,4]

According to the Healthcare Fraud & Abuse Annual Review 2020, “the pharmaceutical and medical device industry continued to account for the largest recoveries within the healthcare industry last year.” Notable examples in this report include Universal Health Services, which paid out $117 million in a settlement over allegations “that its hospitals and facilities: (1) admitted federal healthcare beneficiaries who were not eligible for inpatient or residential treatment; (2) failed to discharge appropriately admitted patients when inpatient care was no longer necessary; (3) billed for services not rendered; (4) billed for excessive and improper lengths of stay; (5) failed to provide adequate staffing or training and supervision of staff; and (6) improperly used physical and chemical restraints and seclusion.” [5]

Earlier this year the World Health Organization (WHO) released a report promoting person-centered and rights-based approaches. In this report the WHO quotes the former head of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Thomas Insell as stating, “I spent 13 years at NIMH really pushing on the neuroscience and genetics of mental disorders, and when I look back on that I realize that while I think I succeeded at getting lots of really cool papers published by cool scientists at fairly large costs – I think $20 billion – I don’t think we moved the needle in reducing suicide, reducing hospitalizations, improving recovery for the tens of millions of people who have mental illness.” NIMH is the largest funder of mental health in the world. [6]

Additionally, Americans, in comparison to other developed countries, use more medicines overall and rank first in the use of antipsychotics and a report released in 2011 [9] from a two-year long investigation found that foster children in Florida were prescribed psychotropic drugs at rates 2.7 to 4.5 times higher than other children in Medicaid in 2008. [7,8]

“We are living in a drugged society that is blindly taking dangerous drugs such as antidepressants without fully understanding the risks,” said Diane Stein, President of CCHR Florida. “People need to be fully informed of the side effects associated with these drugs and the lack of science behind mental health screenings.” [9]

In order to raise awareness, on the harmful effects of psychiatric drugs, fraud and abuse, CCHR is encouraging people interested in learning more to download free booklets on the common side effects of psychiatric drugs and to learn more about mental health screenings.

About CCHR: Initially established by the Church of Scientology and renowned psychiatrist Dr. Thomas Szasz in 1969, CCHR’s mission is to eradicate abuses committed under the guise of mental health and enact patient and consumer protections. L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology, first brought psychiatric imprisonment to wide public notice: “Thousands and thousands are seized without process of law, every week, over the ‘free world’ tortured, castrated, killed. All in the name of ‘mental health,’” he wrote in March 1969. For more information call 800-782-2878.


[1] Can Psychiatry Heal Itself?

A Harvard historian urges psychiatrists to focus less on making money and more on helping patients

[2] Scientific American – Has the Drug-Based Approach to Mental Illness Failed?

[3] The Cost of Mental Health

[4] Venture Funding For Mental Health Startups Hits Record High

[5] Healthcare Fraud & Abuse Annual Review 2020

[6] Guidance on community mental health services: Promoting person-centred and rights-based approaches




Citizens Commission on Human Rights of Florida
Citizens Commission on Human Rights of Florida
109 North Fort Harrison Avenue

United States

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