Psychiatrists Debate Weighing in on Trump's Mental Health

Posted on February 18, 2017

Photo: flickr

Headline after headline, American President Donald Trump has wowed the world with his antics, recieving both praise but also (much more) criticism. It has gotten to the extent where a number of mental health experts have expressed strong opinions to have the American leader examined for any mental health concerns. Thousands of signatures from psychologists and psychiatrists have been gathered to call for the removal of Trump on the grounds that he is not mentally fit to run a country.

Yet, despite how many signatures a petition can gather, are psychologsists able to do as they request? According to history, no. There is an ethics dictum called the Goldwater rule, which all psychiatrists have adhered to. In 1973, thousands of psychiatrists viewed that the then-president Barry Goldwater was psychologically unfit for his role and an article was published about their reasoning. However, Goldwater won the lawsuit against the magazine. Mental health experts are seen as unfit to make a diagnosis from a distance. Today, the American Psychological Association (APA) still continues to adhere to the Goldwater rule. The APA president, Maria Oquendo, also stated in August 2016 that it would be unethical and irresponsible to psychoanalyze candidates.

However, some psychologists feel that they are well qualified to make diagnoses from a distance, especially based on how well-documented a president is from executive orders to press conferences. For now, although no official examination and diagnosis is allowed, psychologists can still comment and voice how their professional opinion.

Source material from Scientific American

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