Bandy Lee and other mental health professionals, who targeted President Trump in a nakedly political attempt to help Democrats, are now experiencing some push back from people who see this for what it is.
Lee and Leonard L. Glass, a psychiatry professor at Harvard, just wrote this for Politico:
We’re Psychiatrists. It’s Our Duty to Question the President’s Mental State.
Eight months ago, moved by what we were witnessing in the American president, we joined 25 other psychiatrists and mental health experts in putting our concerns into a book, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump. We believed Trump’s mental state presented a danger to the public and felt we had a duty to warn them. We intended the book, which became a best-seller, as a service, putting the royalties into a fund for public good.
Since the book’s publication, however, we have faced a wave of backlash—not just from political observers but from doctors in our own field. Many commentators claimed that we were violating the Goldwater rule, the American Psychiatric Association’s ethical directive that psychiatrists should not diagnose anyone they have not personally evaluated. A past president of the American Psychiatric Association called our work “tawdry, indulgent, fatuous, tabloid psychiatry.” We heard similar criticisms last week, after Politico reported that one of us, Dr. Bandy Lee, had met with members of Congress to discuss the president’s behavior and mental health.
But these criticisms get two things wrong: first, that we are violating the Goldwater rule, and second, that we should avoid talking about the president’s mental health. Without diagnosing Trump in a specific way, as the Goldwater rule prohibits, it is not only acceptable but vitally necessary to have a public conversation about mental state of our nation’s leader.
It’s the job of psychiatrists to monitor the president’s mental health? Since when? Oh right… the minute a Republican won the presidency. I don’t recall Bandy Lee or her colleagues voicing any concern when Obama would get off teleprompter and get stuck like a skipping record. If, if, if, if, if, if, if…
In fact, during the 2016 election, talk of Hillary’s physical and mental health was declared off limits by Democrats and most of their media allies.
This has gotten so ridiculous that the American Psychiatric Association has issued a statement:
APA Calls for End to ‘Armchair’ Psychiatry
Today, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) reiterates its continued and unwavering commitment to the ethical principle known as “The Goldwater Rule.” We at the APA call for an end to psychiatrists providing professional opinions in the media about public figures whom they have not examined, whether it be on cable news appearances, books, or in social media. Armchair psychiatry or the use of psychiatry as a political tool is the misuse of psychiatry and is unacceptable and unethical.
The ethical principle, in place since 1973, guides physician members of the APA to refrain from publicly issuing professional medical opinions about individuals that they have not personally evaluated in a professional setting or context. Doing otherwise undermines the credibility and integrity of the profession and the physician-patient relationship. Although APA’s ethical guidelines can only be enforced against APA members, we urge all psychiatrists, regardless of membership, to abide by this guidance in respect of our patients and our profession.
A proper psychiatric evaluation requires more than a review of television appearances, tweets, and public comments.
Bandy Lee has vanished from Twitter in recent days for reasons which should be obvious. Speaking of Twitter, this is a great point:
The politicalization of psychiatry by @BandyXLee exposes far more about psychiatrists than it does about Trump.
Sadly, their profession will suffer a crisis of credibility.
And worse, patients will be the ultimate victims.
— Dr. Milton Wolf (@MiltonWolfMD) January 7, 2018
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