Mental Health Testing Ought to be Required for United States Public Schools.
Debate Rounds (4)
First round is acceptance. Good luck to my opponent!
I affirm the resolution that Mental Health Testing Ought to be Required for United States Public Schools.
Mental health has become an unaddressed pandemic. School shootings, specifically that of Columbine in which the Eric Harris is considered an undiagnosed psychopath and Dylan Klebold is considered an undiagnosed depressive. Mrs. Klebold even published a book on the topic of mental health in schools, with all proceeds going towards mental health advancements.
However, while school shootings are the most dramatic consequence of the lack of mental health advocacy, many teens suffer equally as much without committing acts of crime.
Burden of Mental Illness:
NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, states that 20% of adolescents between the ages of 13-18 live with a mental health condition. The alliance continues by saying that suicide is the second leading cause of death in the ages 10-24, with many of these suicides caused by undiagnosed mental illnesses, stating that 90% of those who died by suicide had an underlying mental illness. NAMI notes that half of all chronic illness begins by the age of 14; and three-quarters by the age of 24. Over one-third (37%) of students with a mental health condition age 14–21 and older who are served by special education drop out—the highest dropout rate of any disability group.
Along with violence, drug abuse has also become a topic of concern involving school students. NAMI states that among the 20.2 million adults in the U.S. who experienced a substance use disorder, 50.5%—10.2 million adults—had a co-occurring mental illness.
Lack of Attention:
However, with all of these issues, mental health has still not developed enough attention, as only 41% of adults in the U.S. with a mental health condition received mental health services in the past year, and just over half (50.6%) of children aged 8-15 received mental health services in the previous year.
With suicide as the second leading cause of death in the school-grade age group and it's link to chronic drug abuse, 50% of sufferers receiving help is not enough.
Prevalence of the Crisis:
An estimated 9% of children between ages 3–17 have ADHD, which causes significant decrease in school performance and critical thinking. Approximately 8% of children and teenagers experience the negative impact of an anxiety disorder at school and at home. Most people develop symptoms of anxiety disorders before age 21. This can lead to panic and fear of attending school, leading to lack of school participation and attendance. Young adults aged 18–25 are 60% more likely to have depression than people aged 50 or older, which is one of the leading causes of suicide. And according to the World Health Organization, mental illnesses account for more disability in developed countries than any other group of illnesses, including cancer and heart disease. The World Health Organization continued by saying that few get help: 76-85% of serious cases went untreated in low and middle income countries, 35-50% of cases in high income countries.
Children are suffering in American schools. These statistics substantially outweigh any probative value of Con. If we allow for more mental screening in public schools, we can prevent suicide by diagnosing the undiagnosed. We can relieve the stress of anxiety disorders. We can help those who are too afraid to ask for help. We need to affirm the resolution in order to save the lives and quality of life for children everywhere.
Columbine School Massacre:
Mrs. Klebod's novel, A Mother's Reckoning:
1) The problem is a medical one so it should stay within the medical system. Though students are common sufferers of mental illness this does not mean a student should have to waive their RIGHT to medical privacy if they wish to get an education. Medical privacy is as important a right as the ability to speak with your attorney in private and should not be trampled upon just because mental illness and school shootings have a connection. For example, if a student knows that his medical conditions may be disclosed to the school he may not truthfully tell his doctor the full extant of his symptoms and doctors are not miracle workers; they cannot diagnose mental illness without the cooperation of the patient. The next issue is that those in the school system are not properly trained to use this information to the benefit of the students. A doctor/psychiatrist may know how to deal with someone with depression/anxiety but teachers may not understand what these students need due to their mental conditions. Which brings me to the next point....
2) What's the point of having the teachers and school officials know? They aren't doctors, they don't know what to do with that information. Even if everyone knew someone was a sociopath, what are they going to do? There are plenty of sociopaths that go through life never shooting up schools or murdering women in dark alleys. If we use their diagnoses as an excuse to discriminate and isolate them it's nothing more than a twisted form of thought policing. Isolating it to the "school system" also leaves private universities, private schools, and home schooled children vulnerable and it's not like someone has to go to school to shoot up a school.
Rather than have it be tied to the school system I propose that it would be better suited with a public healthcare system where youths any where in the country, of all ages, public or private school could get private diagnosis and medical help. Medical issues are sensitive and there is already a heavy stigma on individuals with mental health issues, it would be infringing on their rights to force their medical records into a public system that isn't even specializing in their problems.
I thank my opponent for accepting the severity of mental illness and giving a respectable reply on such a touchy issue.
My opponent is making claims without any sources.
"For example, if a student knows that his medical conditions may be disclosed to the school he may not truthfully tell his doctor the full extant of his symptoms and doctors are not miracle workers"
Do you have any source of this?
Also, students have to fill out a health form that documents the student's primary care doctor, in which if a counselor senses something that needs more specific care, they are allowed to contact the doctor.
Continuing on that note, the AAFP documents the patient-doctor confidentiality promise in which all doctors follow, one section stating that:
H. Policy exceptions which permit medical records release within applicable law:
Thus, by law, the confidentiality and privacy of the student would be completely confidential unless in those circumstances, which ensures the most privacy possible under the safest conditions.
So, unless it was under legal action, a student's medical privacy would be kept by a professional counselor or doctor unless he or she was going to harm someone or his/herself.
This also states the a counselor is allowed to, if not encouraged to, contact a more specified physician in order to offer the best treatment.
"A doctor/psychiatrist may know how to deal with someone with depression/anxiety but teachers may not understand what these students need due to their mental conditions."
As with all medical subjects, only trained nurses and school counselors (in which the typical entry degree requirement is a Master's Degree in counseling and psychology-related majors) would be treating the patient, not teachers. These same people are required to follow the confidentiality clause stated above.
I addressed this in my first argument, as my opponent agrees that the two are related ("Which brings me to the next point....").
"What's the point of having the teachers and school officials know? They aren't doctors, they don't know what to do with that information."
As I stated previously, only professionals (nurses and counselors) would be dealing with this topic; not teachers and school officials.
"Even if everyone knew someone was a sociopath, what are they going to do? There are plenty of sociopaths that go through life never shooting up schools or murdering women in dark alleys."
Without a source, this argument is void. However if we do assume that this is correct, it is not a strong argument. Sociopaths are incredibly rare, and the current term for the disorder is not sociopath, it's Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD). APD is an extremely rare disorder, affect only 1% of the population. This disorder specifically can be a problem getting and maintaining jobs and school attendance, as well as school performance, in which would be beneficial for the student to be treated. Not only for the current social conditions of school, but to prepare the student for the proper social interaction required for maintaining a job.
As I stated in my original argument, students with these mental illnesses are not receiving help. Since all students are required to go to school, and school requires diligence, skill, and concentration that is difficult for those struggling, it is the perfect opportunity for them to be screened to receive help. Students already have physical screenings (eye testing, hearing testing, height and weight checks, etc.). These test for physical abnormalities that can infringe on a students school performance and quality of life. However, mental health, which I have described previously and my opponent accepts, influence school performance and quality of life (evident in the suicide statistics), and it's about time we take action.
Doctor-Patient Confidentiality Clause:
School Counselor Requirements:
Antisocial Personality Disorder:
I'm still trying to understand why medical diagnosis must be linked to schools, shouldn't they be done for anyone? School is not required, there are plenty of people who are homeschooled who would miss out on this. It's also somewhat difficult to make many assertions because the resolution is a bit broad. "Mental Health Testing Ought to be Required for United States Public Schools." How much testing? free testing? Who pays? How often? Why? What is being tested for?
Though I will maintain that my main point is that the school system and health care are seperate and don't require more bureaucracy.
As Con, my opponent was required to provide a counter-plan, however he has only refuted the idea of school testing and not provided a counter-plan.
Also, as I have previously explained, schools are required to administer annual physical health testing, so naturally mental health testing would be an easy addition since qualified professionals are already administering testing.
As for the home schooled, they are not being schooled by the state, and thus a state-mandated (the state is self-evident, as a state public school administers state-mandated testing) testing would not apply to them. This resolution applies only to public schools, and thus the testing of home schooled students is irrelevant to the debate at hand.
My opponent than stated that the resolution was broad, and while it was, I linked it to the physical testing in my early argument and thus all of his questions ("How much testing? free testing? Who pays? How often?") are all assumed to be followed by the same regulations as those of the physical testing.
The next two question my opponent asks ("Why? What is being tested for?") were mentioned in my first argument in which my opponent admitted to accepting.
Now for the final voting points:
- My opponent has not successfully refuted any of my points, and I have successfully refuted his with ample evidence and sources.
- My opponent has not provided a counter-plan, thus linking it to a school is the only plan mentioned and thus we must accept it, as it has flowed through the argument and I have just proved the logic in my subsequent paragraphs.
- My opponent has admitted to accepting all of my contentions in my first argument, thus all flow through the entire round.
Therefore, the only logical point is to vote Pro.
1) mental health testing should be increased for everybody, not just students, not just children, everybody
2) it's a medical problem so should stay involved with the medical system, adding other authorities just adds needless bureaucracy.
3) an example counterplan would be for every citizen to submit a complete medical report yearly with their tax forms. It would accomplish the same thing for everyone.
4) funding should be directed towards systems that help victims of mental illness deal with their issues.
No votes have been placed for this debate.
You are not eligible to vote on this debate
This debate has been configured to only allow voters who meet the requirements set by the debaters. This debate either has an Elo score requirement or is to be voted on by a select panel of judges.