The insatiable media lust to paint Donald Trump as mentally unstable has forced the American Psychiatric Association (APA) to issue an actual advisory, warning its members not to psychoanalyze the GOP nominee or imply the Republican presidential nominee is in any way “mentally ill.”
The announcement came after Democratic Congresswoman Karen Bass launched a petition on Change.org, calling for Trump to withstand a mental health evaluation to determine if he has a narcissistic personality disorder. The petition accumulated more than 25,000 signatures in four days.
The group cautioned members against speculating about the mental health of public figures they haven’t personally evaluated, acknowledging that “the unique atmosphere of this year’s election cycle may lead some to want to psychoanalyze the candidates.”
“Every four years, the United States goes through a protracted elections process for the highest office in the land. This year, the election seems like anything but a normal contest, that has at times devolved into outright vitriol,” American Psychiatric Association President Maria Oquendo wrote to APA members.
The psychiatric field follows the so-called Goldwater Rule which allows psychiatrists to share their insight on psychiatric issues with the public, but holds “it is unethical for a psychiatrist to offer a professional opinion unless he or she has conducted an examination and has been granted proper authorization for such a statement,” according to Principles of Medical Ethics.
Oquendo explained the implications of psychiatrists diagnosing public figures from afar.
“A patient who sees that might lose confidence in their doctor, and would likely feel stigmatized by language painting a candidate with a mental disorder (real or perceived) as ‘unfit’ or ‘unworthy’ to assume the presidency,” Oquendo wrote.