Donald Trump is suffering from a “dangerous mental illness” that has left him unfit to serve as president, a prestigious group of mental health experts warned this week.
At a conference held at Yale University, a group of mental health professionals said they felt an ethical responsibility to warn Americans about what they saw as a dangerous mental instability on Trump’s part, the Independent reported.
Dr. John Gartner, a psychotherapist who advised residents at Johns Hopkins University Medical School, founded a group called Duty To Warn, made up of several other mental health professionals who see Trump as mentally unfit for office. Gartner warned other mental health professionals this week at a Yale University conference, describing several worrying warning signs from Donald Trump.
He pointed to a series of lies, including Trump’s insistence that his inauguration was the largest in history when it was clearly smaller that Barack Obama’s and most others in the last 20 years.
“Worse than just being a liar or a narcissist, in addition he is paranoid, delusional and grandiose thinking and he proved that to the country the first day he was President. If Donald Trump really believes he had the largest crowd size in history, that’s delusional,” Gartner said.
Others said Donald Trump’s mental instability presents a grave danger to America.
“I’ve worked with some of the most dangerous people our society produces, directing mental health programs in prisons,” said James Gilligan, a psychiatrist and professor at New York University (via the Independent). “I’ve worked with murderers and rapists. I can recognize dangerousness from a mile away. You don’t have to be an expert on dangerousness or spend fifty years studying it like I have in order to know how dangerous this man is.”
The debate over Donald Trump’s mental health had stretched back to the 2016 Republican primaries when many took note of some worrying signs including strange speech patterns, forgetfulness, and what seemed to many as a kind of detached anger.
In February 2017, a group of 33 mental health professions wrote a letter to the New York Times laying out their concerns about Donald Trump’s mental health.
“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).”
These warnings have generated considerable controversy. Mental health organizations have imposed policies against evaluation of public figures dating back to the Goldwater Rule put in place in 1973 by the American Psychiatry Association. But many mental health professionals say the potential danger posed by Donald Trump leave them no choice but to speak out.
“[Our] silence has resulted in a failure to lend our expertise to worried journalists and members of Congress at this critical time,” the group of mental health professionals wrote in the New York Times. “We fear that too much is at stake to be silent any longer.”
There is a way around this controversy, Richard Friedman wrote in the New York Times. He noted that while psychiatrists may not be able to directly diagnose Trump without having treated him, “he or she could discuss common narcissistic character traits, like grandiosity and intolerance of criticism, and how they might explain Mr. Trump’s behavior.”
The group of mental health professionals is doing more than warning others that they believe Donald Trump is mentally unfit to serve as president. They have also put together a Change.org petition claiming that Trump is “psychologically incapable of competently discharging the duties of President” and calling for him to be removed from office. So far close to 43,000 people have signed on.
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