When mental health professionals are faced with a politically divisive president with obvious limitations in mental capacity to run the country effectively, where do politics end and the need to inform an unsafe electorate begin?
This is the question facing many mental health professionals today, particularly those at a Yale University conference who are debating this particular issue.
Terms like “crazy,” “insane,” and “narcissistic” get thrown around in general conversation regarding the new president without any real understanding of those terms, which stigmatizes and fosters a misunderstanding of mental illnesses. However, many professionals with a real understanding of psychiatric disorders agree that Trump shows some fairly obvious signs of being mentally unfit to serve. How do they tell the American citizens about those signs, though, without appearing to be political instead of ethical and professional?
John Gartner, a psychotherapist in Baltimore, Maryland, eschewed those ethical concerns for more pressing ones. Gartner, who felt he had “a duty to warn the world about President Trump,” began an online petition to have him removed from the White House.
‘In our field, we have a duty to warn…We’re talking about a need to warn all people that this person is a threat to world peace because of his psychiatric disorder because of our training and experience. For us to see the danger would be like being on a train and seeing someone with a bomb and not saying anything. But as professionals, we’re being told (by other psychiatrists) if we see something, say nothing.’
Dr. Lance Dodes, who served as a clinical professor of psychology at Harvard University, wants American voters to know that “this has nothing to do with politics,” and that Trump is “incapable of serving safely as president,” leaving the doctor with little choice but to speak out on the dangers facing the American people with Trump at the helm.
Dr. Bandy Lee, an assistant clinical professor at Yale, agrees.
“‘I describe it as the elephant in the room,’ Lee says. ‘I would say among my colleagues, there is a majority who have expressed some element of alarm or concern’ over Trump’s behavior and its psychological roots.”
At what point do the American people, and not just degreed mental health professionals, put politics aside and consider the very real safety concerns that Trump presents?
For more on this subject, see video below:
Featured image via Getty/Drew Angerer