Mental Health America urges Dr. Phil to issue retraction for mental illness comments
August 05, 2013
From our colleagues at Mental Health America
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (August 5, 2013)—Statement of Wayne W. Lindstrom, Ph.D., president and CEO of Mental Health America: “Mental Health America calls on syndicated talk show host Dr. Phil to issue a retraction for reckless and offensive remarks he made about individuals who live with mental illness (During his show, Dr. Phil said people who are insane ‘suck on rocks and bark at the moon.’)
“Comments like these, particularly from a professional psychologist, perpetuate inaccurate and harmful stereotypes that marginalize millions of Americans. These statements only produce shame and embarrassment when we should be promoting understanding. They diminish the contributions of millions of Americans and discourage individuals from seeking treatment for mental health conditions that allow them to achieve recovery and live full and productive lives.
“Dr. Phil’s comments are particularly inappropriate in the light of the National Dialogue now occurring around the country, which was launched by President Obama during the White House National Conference on Mental Health and is designed to promote greater understanding and awareness about mental health.
“As the President said: ‘We can help people who suffer from a mental illness continue to be great colleagues, great friends, the people we love. We can take out some pain and give them a new sense of hope. But it requires all of us to act.’
“The media and television personalities play an influential role in informing public opinion. They can either perpetuate misinformation and misunderstanding surrounding mental illness or they can work to enlighten and educate.
“We urge Dr. Phil, given his national platform as an authority on mental health and well-being, to retract his comments. It will go a long way toward further enhancing his credibility and changing the conversation around mental health. Our expectation is no less than for Dr. Phil to enlighten and educate when it comes to mental illness.”
We at the Children’s Mental Health Network concur. Thank you Wayne Lindstrom for leading the way on this one.