Mental health professionals are bound by the ethics of what is called the Goldwater Rule, described as “a self-imposed dictum about evaluating public figures.” Because of this, they almost without exception do not speculate on anyone’s mental health from a distance, without an examination.
But, that hasn’t stopped 35 mental health professionals from publishing an open letter to the New York Times in response to a recent column about Trump’s need to constantly “grind the opposition underfoot,” and the strange, solo press conference Trump held last Thursday.
Addressing the ethics of the Goldwater Rule, these doctors explain that their concern overrides that standard. And, since Donald Trump isn’t simply any old “public figure” but is the President, it is more ethical to raise these concerns publicly than to remain silent.
“Silence from the country’s mental health organizations has been due to a self-imposed dictum about evaluating public figures (the American Psychiatric Association’s 1973 Goldwater Rule). But this silence has resulted in a failure to lend our expertise to worried journalists and members of Congress at this critical time. We fear that too much is at stake to be silent any longer.
“Mr. Trump’s speech and actions demonstrate an inability to tolerate views different from his own, leading to rage reactions. His words and behavior suggest a profound inability to empathize. Individuals with these traits distort reality to suit their psychological state, attacking facts and those who convey them (journalists, scientists).
“In a powerful leader, these attacks are likely to increase, as his personal myth of greatness appears to be confirmed. We believe that the grave emotional instability indicated by Mr. Trump’s speech and actions makes him incapable of serving safely as president.”
This isn’t partisan concern for policy and political agenda. This is concern for the very safety of our nation, based on research and science by professionals who have dedicated their lives to this sort of thing. Hopefully it’s not too late by the time America listens.