The current administration is making calculated, cruel, and very rational moves. They’re selfish, xenophobic, but they are not suffering from mental illness. What they lack is a moral sense of justice.
To equate mental illness with the miscarriage of justice that is the governments of the states and the federal United States of America is to do a great harm.
I could go on at length about how people will MI are overwhelmingly likely to be victims, how society horribly mistreats and ostracizes those who speak up about their own MIs, and how the state and federal governments have actively mistreated and abused people with MI.
Having an MI does not make someone dangerous. Or broken. They just are people with a disability.
Getting real tired of having to spell it out time and time again.
It’s right there in the name. Illness. In most (not all) cases, it’s chronic but treatable. Like cancer, it can go into remission. Equally like cancer, if left untreated, it can be fatal.
Creating stigma around it – such as by equating it with being horrible or dangerous – can cause people to avoid proper diagnosis and treatment. Kinda like a lot of other illnesses out there that became outright epidemics until we (as a society) removed the stigma and moral judgements. Funny how that works.
I’ve had a mental project for some years now, not always successfully, to NOT try and figure out what goes on inside people’s brains. The likelihood of my having all the data required is very small. I want to treat people like a black box, all I know is what goes in (that I know of) and what comes out.
If there is corroboration, it’s not assumption or speculation. Saying “he looks scared” about someone who is wide-eyed and shaking is about something more concrete. It’s not hard to distinguish and determine basic emotional states like fear, anger or joy. It’s quite another thing to say “he’s got something wrong with him, look at how he’s shaking. Dude’s got issues.” That’s an unfounded assumption.
With cases like this administration, it’s quite possible to comment on their behaviour, without delving into their mental health. We can recognise that separating families and denying people basic rights is heartless. We can note that expecting a six-year-old to serve as their own lawyer in immigration court is Kafkaesque. Unfortunately, delving was getting popular. And when that happens, it’s usually is the people who have real mental health issues that suffer the most.
Edited to clairify the difference between noting someone’s outward behaviour, and speculation.
It’s the difference between saying “The ‘president’ displays many signs of NPD” (easily supported) and “The ‘president’ behaves this way because he’s mentally ill.” (which excuses his arseholish behaviour as something beyond his control and also stigmatises mentally ill people who don’t behave like jerks).
What’s being asked for are: specificity (e.g. “NPD” rather than a generic “mentally ill”); supporting evidence if asked (e.g. a reference citing the DSM or a diagnostic tool); and taking care not to present one’s armchair diagnoses as authoritative.
Even appending such an assertion with the caveat ‘I am not a licensed mental health practitioner’ is dodgy. Recall the countless slapdash backgrounds written about mass shooting suspects in the breaking news phase, where such statements as ‘showed signs of depression/mental instability’ were printed with scant attributions.
And if you were a licensed mental health practitioner, remote diagnosis via media reports would be both ethically and clinically dubious.