‘…A prohibition against psychiatrists discussing the mental health of public figures — a rule that has become especially controversial, and sometimes flouted, since the inauguration of President Trump — is “premised on dubious scientific assumptions,” researchers concluded in an analysis scheduled for publication in a psychology journal.
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) defends its “Goldwater rule” by arguing that an in-person psychiatric examination is the gold standard for diagnosing mental illness and psychological traits — given that there are no blood tests or brain scans for psychiatric disorders. In fact, however, numerous studies suggest that the interview-based exam can be misleading, psychologist Scott Lilienfeld of Emory University and colleagues argue in the paper, which will appear in an upcoming issue of Perspectives on Psychological Science.
Patients lie or hide facts, they often have poor self-insight, and psychiatrists err, the authors write. In contrast, the accounts of people who know the individual, plus his or her public behavior, writing, speech — and, yes, tweets — can provide more accurate insights into a public figure’s mind, they contend…’
There is an overriding public interest in bringing to bear all the available clinical evidence to diagnose Trump, given his importance and dangerousness to the entire world. For this reason, it ought to be mandatory that the President have periodic impartial mental health evaluations and that any concerns arising from such evaluations be made public. And, to paraphrase a famous saying about the sword, those who live in the public eye must be judged in the public eye.