Traditionally speaking, mental health professionals are forbidden from making comments regarding a public figure’s mental health. This is referred to as the Goldwater rule, which was named after Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater. However, in an unprecedented move, 35 mental health professionals sent a letter to the editor of the New York Times expressing their concerns regarding President Donald Trump’s mental health.
‘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.’
While this is certainly an unprecedented step from so many members of the medical community, it is hardly the first time that someone has questioned Trump’s mental health. Last week, the New Yorker’s Andrew Sullivan wrote a piece aptly titled The Madness of King Donald where he discussed the president’s instability and inability to address reality or deal with criticism.
‘I think this is a fundamental reason why so many of us have been so unsettled, anxious, and near panic these past few months. It is not so much this president’s agenda. That always changes from administration to administration. It is that when the linchpin of an entire country is literally delusional, clinically deceptive, and responds to any attempt to correct the record with rage and vengeance, everyone is always on edge.’
Beyond that, Al Franken told CNN that several Republicans have expressed concerns regarding Trump’s mental state. According to reports, Trump’s recent press conference did little to help matters in this regard.
NBC's @kasie reporting from the Hill: Republicans and Dems both watching this Trump presser with their "jaws on the floor"
— Kerry Eleveld (@kerryeleveld) February 16, 2017
If 35 medical professionals are willing to break their silence and disregard longstanding tradition, then perhaps it’s time people stop dismissing Trump’s antics as mere political theater. Perhaps there is something truly wrong with him. If that is the case, then that could be disastrous for the country. Let’s hope these professionals are mistaken in this regard.
Featured image via Getty Images.