- The Washington Times
Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Patrick Kennedy, a former Democratic congressman and mental health advocate, penned an op-ed Monday demanding pundits stop calling Donald Trump “crazy” because it demeans those who actually suffer from mental illness.

” ‘Crazy’ is never uttered with compassion,” Mr. Kennedywrote for The Washington Post. “I have never heard it used in the context of trying to get someone the treatment they need. When that language is commonplace, it becomes that much harder for those experiencing mental illness to openly seek treatment that works.

“With all of this damaging rhetoric floating around in our national political discourse, especially what we hear from and about Trump, it’s no wonder that people remain silent and the suffering continues,” he wrote.

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Mr. Kennedy, who co-authored a book about his own mental illness and addiction, said defeating Mr. Trump should be a “high priority,” but he urged for people to eliminate harmful name-calling.

“There’s a lot to criticize about the policies, ideas and ideology of the Republican nominee,” he wrote. “We can reject Trump without resorting to making baseless diagnoses of his mental health.”

Mr. Kennedy, the youngest son of former Sen. Ted Kennedy, said the country still has a lot of work to do to end discrimination.

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“It starts with ensuring we don’t perpetuate stigmatizing, outdated and dangerous stereotypes,” he concluded. “We need to elect policymakers who believe it’s right to treat diseases of the brain the same as illnesses of the body, like diabetes and heart disease. Calling people crazy doesn’t further that goal, and slows our efforts toward equality.”

Mr. Kennedy’s plea came six days after Democratic Rep. Karen Bass started an online petition to “diagnose Trump,” declaring that the business mogul appeared to exhibit “all the symptoms” of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

The American Psychiatric Association on Wednesday urged psychiatrists not to publicly diagnose the candidates.

“The unique atmosphere of this year’s election cycle may lead some to want to psychoanalyze the candidates,” Maria A. Oquendo, president of the APA, wrote, “but to do so would not only be unethical, it would be irresponsible.”

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