Rulers mental health – should it be a public issue?

2년 전

No political view is expressed in this article, my intention is to discuss the moral and ethical aspects of the question only.

The prime minister of Israel in the last 9 years is Benjamin Netanyahu, the leader of the right-wing coalition. Netanyahu faces a fierce opposition, both in the government and in the media - there are some known opposing journal writers that have even been sued for items they wrote about him. Rallies with thousands of participants are regularly held against him and his “regiment”.

Image spurce

During the fierce and emotional rallies, and sometimes in the media too – Netanyahu is being accused with corruption, self-caring and oppression.

This atmosphere made me look in the situation in the USA, and nowadays – with** president Donald Trump**, it is clear that the accusations directed at him are much more severe, this is no longer about whether his acts are for his own interests our for the people’s interests but about something much more basic:

People are accusing Trump of being mentally unstable, meaning that they question not only his interests but his basic ration and ability to make decisions. For example – after the release of journalist Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury - a book accusing Trump of being impatient, Unable to focus and self-repeating, Trump twittered saying that his “two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart”.

So, this is not a minor problem – the mental condition of the leader of the strongest nation in the world is being questioned.

recently – Ralph Northam, a pediatric neurologist, the new governor of Virginia – called Trump a “narcissistic maniac” and claimed it’s medically correct. In fact – this terminology isn’t acceptable medically speaking but it did the desired effect Northam striven to achieve.
Moreover – a book available at Amazon "The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President" offers the unanimous opinion of 27 psychiatrists and psychologists that Trump’s mental state presents a clear danger to the American nation.

Image source

We might ask – is it legitimate to criticize leaders publicly without restrictions? Moreover – is it legitimate, legally and morally, for psychiatric professionals to express medical opinions about leaders?

It is clear that Leaders can, and should, be criticized for their actions – democracy is based upon giving the people the utmost degree of freedom, freedom of speech included, and about the presentation of the people in the government by their** elected representatives**. the representatives should care the people’s interests – and in case they do not – the people have the right to protest and try to become involved and affect the national decision makings – of course, lying is forbidden and such accusations can be ruled in determined in the courts.

But – regarding the medical opinions expressed by professional psychiatrists, things become a bit** more complicated:
The American Psychiatric Association (
APA**) position in their ethical code is that psychiatrists should not offer diagnostic opinions about persons they have not examined in person, which is obviously the case here. Shortly after Trump was elected, the APA broadened the rule so that forbids the expression of “any opinion on the affect, behavior, speech, or other presentation of an individual that draws on the skills, training, expertise, and/or knowledge inherent in the practice of psychiatry”.

On the other hand – the criticizing psychiatrists claim that their action is in accordance to another section of the APA’s ethical code – “A physician shall recognize a** responsibility to participate in activities contributing to the improvement of the community** and the betterment of public health.” – in short, psychiatrists has a responsibility to the well-being of the public.

So who is correct? Should we encourage medical professionals to express their medical related opinions regarding leaders they believe are putting the public in danger? Or should we** be cautious** and **discourage ** it in order to protect leaders from opinions that has little clinical data to be based upon?

Image source

Personally – I am concerned that expressing such opinions will harm the reputation of Psychiatrists and medical doctors generally, and such opinions better be avoided.
What do you think? Express yourself in the comments please :)

Images source: Pixabay.
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אחד הפוסטים המעניינים שקראתי לאחרונה.
אני מניחה שמנהיגים נעזרים באיזושהי מערכת תמיכה נפשית שעוסקת להם לצלוח את הלחצים והמעמסות שדורש המקצוע שלהם

אני חושב שלא, כל מעמד הבחירות של טראמפ היה מלחיץ מאין כמוהו
אני לא מבין איך הוא והילרי קלינטון יצאו שפויים מכל הדבר הזה.
אבל בהחלט זה לא אמור להיות נושא ציבורי.
אחרי שאדם נבחר לפי הדמוקרטיה שאני מניח שהוא עבר מבחני כשירות ואמינות לפני כן ..
הוא צריך לקבל את כל התמיכה על מנת לעשות את העבודה שלו בצורה הכי טובה שאפשר.
ואני חושב שפרטיות שפיותם הנפשית היא דבר הכרחי להמשך סדיר של הפעילות שלהם ,דווקא בגלל שיש כל כך הרבה סטיגמות על הפרעות נפשיות.


האמת היא שהסיפור עם הסטיגמות זו נקודה ממש חשובה שהחלטתי להשמיט כדי לא להעמיס על הקוראים, זה בהחלט משהו שצריך להעלות כל הדעת - במאמר המרכזי שקראתי בנושא הם כתבו על זה שאנחנו אמורים לעודד תפיסה שאנשים עם הפרעות נפשיות הם לא פחות שווים ויתכן שהם כשירים לחלוטין לבצע משימות מורכבות ודורשות אחריות, ובזה שטוענים "יש לו בעיה נפשית" ומיד מנסים להסיק מזה שהאדם לא יכול לשמש בתפקיד ציבורי - פוגעים בכל האוכלוסייה של המתמודדים עם ההפרעות הנפשיות ומעמיקים את הסטיגמות נגדם.

תודה שהצבעת, ועוד יותר על זה שהשקעת בתגובה- אני יודע כמה אתה עסוק.

I think that the mental and physical wellbeing of our leaders is important, and we as the public should take interest. Going around throwing diagnosis is not helping anyone, but I do believe that leaders have the most stressful jobs ever. And as such, they should have weekly meetings with a therapist and psychiatrist to deal with all the shit they live through. THOSE people will have the right to give the leader a diagnosis and treat him. Do we need to know the details as the public? Probably not, but it would help us sleep better if we knew our leaders' health is not being neglected.

It's important to note that many personality disorders are acquired, rather than organic. So the job is what might make the politicians mentally ill, and not the other way around.

As for Trump - you don't need to be a psychiatrist to call the man a narcissist. As someone with a mental illness (cPTSD), I think that excusing Trump's behaviors by claiming he has mental illness is just hurtful to those of us who suffer from them. He's evil, not crazy.


Thanks for reading :)
I guess and hope leaders are having some routine checkups with their physician - I do not know if they also have a therapist, but their doc should have the courage to refer him if he notices something is developing that needs treatment.

Yeah - it would be good to have a general, none detailed, declaration from the PM/ his doc about his health from time to time. this is not something that can be hidden from the people.

Generally, One can agree or disagree with people like Trump and Bibi, me? I mainly pity them - living such a life with so much responsibility, so much lies and so much stress and haters isn't easy - I don't know how they even dare keeping it up and running again and again (regarding Bibi at least)


I think they NEED to have a therapist. Like, legally forced to. Their job is too stressful not to leave a mark. Especially Bibi, who has been doing it for far too long. Sure, his wife is a psychologist, but we both know that's she's more the cause rather than the solution for our PM's stress and anxiety.

This post has received a 0.17 % upvote from @drotto thanks to: @banjo.

your post is very good

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The generic behavior of leaders indicating psychological issues can become subject to public discussion naturally due to the imminent consequences of that behavior on the public.

However, professionals should be professional in their remarks and opinions. Someone serving on a political post has the right to express himself but he should also respect the profession he has been in for lifetime.

Benjamin Netanyahu is loathed for multiple reasons and some of them make him a deserving case for all the criticism. We need better leaders everywhere, but especially in the countries which are known for their military action and attacks on populations across the globe. USA comes into mind for its global military missions and Israel for its actions against Palestine.