10 Mental Health Questions I’d Like to Ask the Presidential Debaters Tonight


What questions would you ask the presidential debaters?




Tonight is the first presidential debate for our upcoming elections. Usually, mental health gets short shrift in these debates, so here are some last-minute questions that I hope are asked. In contrast to the Goldwater Rule against any personal psychiatric analysis of public figures, asking about policies is fine.

  1. Given the worrisome rise of mental disturbances over at least the last decade, spanning both of your administrations, what would you now do to improve the mental health of our citizens?
  2. Do you think that climate instability is worsening our collective mental stability and, if so, in what ways?
  3. Has legalizing marijuana in some states been a benefit or mistake? Why or why not?
  4. Should psychedelics be legalized? Why or why not?
  5. How would you reduce the divisiveness between Democrats and Republicans?
  6. Since you both were President during the COVID-19 pandemic and now, although less severe, cases are rising again, what would you do differently if you were faced with a similar pandemic challenge once more?
  7. What do you think about physician-assisted suicide?
  8. How do you like our Surgeon General publicly coming out about our loneliness, social media harm, and gun control problems, and what would you do to address those problems?
  9. Do you think that your administration would be helped by having a psychiatrist consultant at a high level in your government?
  10. How would you assess your own mental health in your readiness for the stress and challenges of being President at your advanced ages, and would you agree to have an expert and objective mental health exam before the election?

Perhaps we can use any attention—or none—in this debate about mental health to make recommendations for the next time around. What would you like to ask?

Dr Moffic is an award-winning psychiatrist who specialized in the cultural and ethical aspects of psychiatry and is now in retirement and retirement as a private pro bono community psychiatrist. A prolific writer and speaker, he has done a weekday column titled “Psychiatric Views on the Daily News” and a weekly video, “Psychiatry & Society,” since the COVID-19 pandemic emerged. He was chosen to receive the 2024 Abraham Halpern Humanitarian Award from the American Association for Social Psychiatry. Previously, he received the Administrative Award in 2016 from the American Psychiatric Association, the one-time designation of being a Hero of Public Psychiatry from the Speaker of the Assembly of the APA in 2002, and the Exemplary Psychiatrist Award from the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill in 1991. He is an advocate and activist for mental health issues related to climate instability, physician burnout, and xenophobia. He is now editing the final book in a 4-volume series on religions and psychiatry for Springer: Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, Christianity, and now The Eastern Religions, and Spirituality. He serves on the Editorial Board of Psychiatric Times.

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