Top Mental Health Experts Are Calling for the Goldwater Rule to Be Revised to Allow Discussion of Public Figures' Mental Health

The American Psychiatric Association is facing calls from top mental health professionals to revise the infamous Goldwater rule that effectively bars discussion of political candidates' mental health.


The twenty-two signatories to the official letter include Robert Jay Lifton, a leading global expert on the psychological effects of war and political violence and Philip Zimbardo of the Stanford prison experiment.

Signers say withholding their professional views in political settings is a breach of ethics and believe President Donald Trump showed clear signs of dangerous psychological patterns.

“If you understand character and the typical psychological needs of someone reacting to threats to his self-esteem, you know that that behavior and speech doesn’t change readily,” Dr. Leonard Glass of Harvard Medical School said.

The letter to the APA says the Goldwater rule is "antiquated, illogical, without scientific foundation, and intrinsically undermining of mental health professionals’ efforts to protect the public’s well-being.”

Signers believe that a prohibition on discussing individuals they've treated and non-public figures should remain, but that the Goldwater rule must be revised to recognize the ethical duty to warn about dangerous public figures.

#story_page_post_article

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.