White House hopeful Donald Trump‘s antics and strong opinions on the campaign trail have earned him both the Republican nomination, and concerns he may need a mental health evaluation.
Member of Congress Karen Bass has started a petition on Change.org to #DiagnoseTrump.
“Donald Trump is dangerous for our country. His impulsiveness and lack of control over his own emotions are of concern,” the petition’s description states.
“It is our patriotic duty to raise the question of his mental stability to be the commander in chief and leader of the free world.”
It goes on to question if Trump has narcissistic personality disorder, and asks mental health professionals to get involved and “urge the Republican party to insist that their nominee has an evaluation to determine his mental fitness for the job.”
Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder, according to the Mayo Clinic, marked by inflated self-importance, a need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others.
Therapy is often used in treating the disorder.
The petition aimed at Trump states that while it’s possible for people with the disorder to “successfully function” in their daily lives and careers, “not the Presidency of the United States.”
“We deserve to have the greatest understanding of Mr. Trump’s mental health status before we head to the polls on November 8th, 2016. #DiagnoseTrump.”
At the time of publication the petition hovered around its goal of 25,000 signatures. The petition’s webpage states it will be delivered to clinical psychologists and psychiatrists.
The Goldwater Rule
While leading the United States as president is a very serious matter, so are issues of mental health.
As the U.S. presidential election rages on, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) reminds health professionals that making assumptions about a person’s mental state is not to be taken lightly.
“The unique atmosphere of this year’s election cycle may lead some to want to psychoanalyze the candidates, but to do so would not only be unethical, it would be irresponsible,” the APA said in a release .
Psychiatrists are reminded of the Goldwater Rule, named after 1964 GOP presidential candidate Barry Goldwater. The politician was subject of a survey of mental health professionals, questioning his mental fitness for presidency.
Published by Fact magazine, about half responded Goldwater would be unfit to be president. None of the respondents had actually interviewed or assessed Goldwater. Goldwater lost the presidential election by a landslide, and later sued the magazine.
“This large, very public ethical misstep by a significant number of psychiatrists violated the spirit of the ethical code that we live by as physicians,” the AMA writes.
The Goldwater Rule was born, and remains relevant more than 50 years later.
“It is unethical for a psychiatrist to offer a professional opinion unless he or she has conducted an examination and has been granted proper authorization for such a statement.”