The Colombian Association of Psychology Faculties pointed out that the president’s privacy regarding his mental health must be respected. (Cristian Garavito Cruz – Presidency).
The shocks continue regarding the apparent revelation that the President of the Republic, Gustavo Francisco Petro, was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. And although the president himself denied the alleged version that his brother Juan Fernando gave to the Los Informantes program, as well as pointing out that his statements were manipulated, organizations that work on mental health issues have questioned the way in which the disorder has been reported. .
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Among them have been the University of the Andes, through the Action Program for Equality and Social Inclusion (PAIIS), the Colombian Autism League, and recently the Colombian Association of Psychology Faculties (Ascofapsi) where they requested respect for the privacy of the head of state.
“In relation to the news released regarding the mental health condition of the President of the Republic, it considers that confidentiality, the protection of information related to health and aspects of a person’s private sphere, are part of the right to the intimacy that assists us all (sic),” they noted.
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They also criticized the way the media addressed what happened, which according to them was irresponsible and inaccurate.
“The news regarding the possible presence of Asperger’s condition associated with the President has been imprecise, superficial, treated in a frivolous manner and even disrespectful not only with the person, but also with psychology professionals (sic),” they added. .
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They reminded that communicators must report objectively, with context and based on evidence so that the public can understand the complexity of mental health.
“It is a duty and an ethical imperative of journalism and social communication professionals to verify the reported facts, seek advice from professionals to understand the information and document it in order to prevent its distortion (sic),” they explained in the letter.
They delved into the fact that the work of psychologists is not based on opinions, and when they issue a diagnosis they do so after a process in which there is rigorous observation, information is collected, to make an evaluation and analysis of the findings, through techniques that have a scientific basis.
“Ethically and professionally, it is impossible to issue diagnoses solely through information from third parties, without participation and voluntary and conscious authorization of the interested party (sic),” they noted.
Finally, they made a series of recommendations to the media when reporting on these psychological contents and to refrain from making value judgments that compromise the individual well-being of people and that, in addition, call psychology into question.
“(They must) responsibly educate the population on mental health issues – so important today – and disseminate information that avoids distortion and increases the tendency to stigmatize and generate erroneous beliefs,” they indicated.
And they urged that when they report, they do so with the greatest possible enlightenment, putting ethics, transparency and objectivity of the information first, as well as persuading people to go to professionals if they stop any of the symptoms of these disorders.
“Guide the general population, so that if they identify symptoms associated with mental health in themselves or others, they go in search of professional attention, eliminating the risk of actions that are undertaken based on myths, labels and misunderstandings that negatively impact individual health. and collective (sic)”, they concluded the statement.
It should be remembered that the Colombian Autism League also criticized the way in which the issue was approached and recalled that they are not diseases, but rather a condition that lasts a lifetime. While at the Universidad de los Andes they asked the media not to stigmatize people with these disorders.