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Thursday, 27 April 2017

Why Diagnosing Donald Trump is Harmful to Us All

Trump Diagnosis HeadlineThere has been a recent trend of attempting to diagnose Donald Trump as ‘severely mentally ill’. Some are using it as an opportunity to make fun of him. For example, Andy Borowitz published a ‘satirical’ piece in the New Yorker about Trump hearing voices: "Trump Accuses Media of Not Reporting Voices He Hears in Head". Although meant to be funny, the piece pokes fun at Trump at the expense of people who do actually hear voices, and reinforces negative stereotypes.

But most articles about diagnosing Trump aren’t meant to be funny, including a petition started by a psychologist and demanding his removal from office on that basis. Why is all of this a problem? There are several reasons including (but certainly not limited to):

The suggestion that psychiatric diagnosis means one is unfit to be president is discriminatory. There are many people who’ve been diagnosed, hospitalized, and so on, who are extremely smart, reliable, gifted, loyal people working in jobs where they have a great deal of responsibility and much positive impact.

The suggestion that we need to diagnose someone to see their actions as good or bad is harmful. People are perfectly able to look at what Trump is doing, and decide how they feel about it or evaluate his actions against the law and ethical standards without a diagnosis.

Pointing the finger at a supposed ‘mental illness’ does nothing but further harm already marginalized groups in this country. The people this will ultimately harm the most will not be people with lots of power and money, like Donald Trump, but the rest of us who’ve also been diagnosed and are mostly just trying to survive in this world. For more on this topic see the following two articles:

Trump and the Diagnosis Free-for-All ~ by Sera Davidow.

The Truth about Trump & Psychiatric Diagnosis ~ by Paula J Caplan

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Article in its entirety:

There has been a recent trend of attempting to diagnose Donald Trump as ‘severely mentally ill’. Some are using it as an opportunity to make fun of him. For example, Andy Borowitz published a ‘satirical’ piece in the New Yorker about Trump hearing voices: "Trump Accuses Media of Not Reporting Voices He Hears in Head". Although meant to be funny, the piece pokes fun at Trump at the expense of people who do actually hear voices, and reinforces negative stereotypes.

But most articles about diagnosing Trump aren’t meant to be funny, including a petition started by a psychologist and demanding his removal from office on that basis. Why is all of this a problem? There are several reasons including (but certainly not limited to):

The suggestion that psychiatric diagnosis means one is unfit to be president is discriminatory. There are many people who’ve been diagnosed, hospitalized, and so on, who are extremely smart, reliable, gifted, loyal people working in jobs where they have a great deal of responsibility and much positive impact. The idea that someone who has been diagnosed can’t hold office or is automatically unfit is based in negative stereotypes and misinformation that assumes that diagnosis represents a permanent condition and that, above all else, the person is broken and not highly capable.

The suggestion that we need to diagnose someone to see their actions as good or bad is harmful. People are perfectly able to look at what Trump is doing, and decide how they feel about it or evaluate his actions against the law and ethical standards without a diagnosis. Even if he is diagnosed with a mental illness, it doesn’t mean his current behavior is the result of such a diagnosis, and to suggest that there is necessarily a direct link is also harmful. It ignores so much, including what else might be influencing the choices someone’s making and how to hold them accountable for that.

This is a time for us to come together and look at how we as a country have landed in such a divided place of unrest. Pointing the finger at a supposed ‘mental illness’ does nothing but further harm already marginalized groups in this country. It reinforces that psychiatric diagnosis is bad and the people so labeled deserve to be isolated and discarded. The people this will ultimately harm the most will not be people with lots of power and money, like Donald Trump, but the rest of us who’ve also been diagnosed and are mostly just trying to survive in this world. For more on this topic see the following two articles:

Trump and the Diagnosis Free-for-All ~ by Sera Davidow.

The Truth about Trump & Psychiatric Diagnosis ~ by Paula J Caplan

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