ARLINGTON, Va. — The American Psychiatric Association (APA) today released the following statement regarding The Goldwater Rule:
“In the past year and a half, there have been numerous news articles and commentaries on The Goldwater Rule. The Goldwater Rule is an ethics principle that guides our physician members not to provide professional opinions in the media about the mental health of someone they have not personally examined and without patient consent or other legal authority. A personal examination includes ruling out physical causes of or other reasons for a behavior. Nothing about the Goldwater Rule discourages psychiatrists from providing education to the public about mental illnesses; in fact, APA encourages psychiatrists to educate the public about the causes, symptoms, and treatment of mental illnesses and substance use disorders.
The APA would also like to dispel a common misconception about the so-called “Duty to Warn.” The duty to warn is a legal concept which varies from state to state, but which generally requires psychiatrists to breach the confidentiality of the therapeutic session when a risk of danger to others becomes known during treatment of the patient. It does not apply if there is no physician-patient relationship.”
American Psychiatric Association
The American Psychiatric Association, founded in 1844, is the oldest medical association in the country. The APA is also the largest psychiatric association in the world with more than 37,000 physician members specializing in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and research of mental illnesses. APA’s vision is to ensure access to quality psychiatric diagnosis and treatment.