Why Are We Not Giving Our Elected Officials and Mental Health Exams?

Dr. Bankole Johnson, a global authority on mental health and brain wellness, thinks it’s time we adopt a required mental health exam for all elected officials from the highest office to city mayors.

“If we are to elect leaders and place 350 million lives at risk, and some would argue billions, there is a moral as well as a medical necessity to have a clear method to ensure that such a leader does not become a danger to himself herself and others,” says Dr. Johnson.

Such an exam should include:

1. Formal psychiatric and mental status examination 

2. Psychometric and cognitive tests 

3. Situational judgement tests

4. Questionnaires on adaptability, comprehension and reasoning

5. Physical examination and related blood tests

6. Findings of abnormality may lead to additional tests such as a functional/structural MRI

Dr. Johnson points out: “In my field of forensic medicine, we examine people for dangerous behaviors all the time, and have gotten quite good at it using a variety of standardized medical metrics. These metrics are accepted legally by our judicial system. There is the confidence that such metrics can distinguish individuals who are not dangerous but who think differently from those who do have a propensity to be and act on their dangerous thoughts or words.

Dr. Bankole Johnson says:

“It is time for all of us to come to our own senses and realize that our leaders are not imbued with special human powers, and that they too might be susceptible to the defects of mental aberration that anyone else could have; indeed, some would say. More likely given the incredible pressures of the position. Unfortunately, all too often, when it comes to mental illness, we are swayed incorrectly by simply focusing on individuals who have a frank and obvious disorder and may be hallucinating, talking to others not in the room, or displaying clear signs of mental distress. Yet, in gainsay, the real danger of many with a mental disorder is that the disease is not fulminant, but progressive and insidious such that perspective and reality testing fail repeatedly. Actually, it is this insidiousness that draws others in such that they too are lost in a vision that leads to a deterioration of mental health. Such leaders, often able to disguise their true nature by guile, charm, and manipulation, are perhaps the most dangerous and have been proven to be by history. It is time for us to have regular and documented mental health checks for our leaders as part of a regular examination — which would be an essential component of being allowed to continue to govern. Why should an entire nation be held hostage to the mental disorder of any particular leader?” 

About Professor Dr. Bankole Johnson:

Professor Bankole A. Johnson (DSc., M.D., MB. CHB., MPhil, DFAPA, FRCPSYCH, FACFEI, ABDA) is a licensed physician and board-certified psychiatrist in the United States. Professor Johnson graduated in Medicine from Glasgow University in 1982, and trained in Psychiatry at the Royal London, Maudsley, and Bethlem Royal Hospitals. In addition to his medical degree, he obtained a Master of Philosophy degree for his neurobiological research at the University of London and conducted studies in neuropsychopharmacology for his doctoral thesis on the Medical Research Council unit at Oxford University. In 2004, Professor Johnson earned his Doctor of Science degree in Medicine from Glasgow University, the highest degree that can be granted in science by a British university.

Johnson’s primary area of research expertise is on ion channels, neuropsychopharmacology, molecular genetics, mathematics, neuroimaging, and medications for treating addictions. His clinical expertise is in the fields of forensics, and disability assessment, and addiction. He holds several U.S. and international patents in pharmacogenetics.

Previously, Johnson was the Dr. Irving J. Taylor Professor and Chairman of Psychiatry, Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Professor of Medicine and Professor of Pharmacology; as well as the head of the Brain Science Consortium Unit at the University of Maryland. He has also been Alumni Professor and Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences at the University of Virginia. Additionally, Johnson served on the Council of the National Institute on Drug Addiction from 2004 to 2007 and was part of its External Advisory Board for many years. He was also on the editorial board of The American Journal of Psychiatry, and has over 200 publications himself.

Presently, Johnson is the Founder, Executive Chairman, and CEO of Privée Clinics, based in Miami, and the Founder and Chief Medical Officer of Adial Pharmaceuticals Inc., 1 a NASDAQ-listed company. Professor Dr. Johnson also functions as a Professor of Biomedical Sciences at Larkin University in Miami.

Passionate about sharing his wealth of knowledge, Dr. Johnson recently launched a series of three books, entitled”Six Rings,” in an attempt to bridge the gap between an educated lay and professional audience in the understanding of brain wellness, how to maintain it, the perturbations that can occur with excessive alcohol and substance use, and a more wholesome and integrated approach to its treatment.

The”Six Rings” books, available now on Amazon, cover a range of topics including:

  • emotional acceptance and intelligence, oxidative stress and the healing power of antioxidants
  • the effects of excessive alcohol consumption on the brain
  • the ways that nutrition can improve brain health and function, as well as help mitigate the effects of alcohol consumption on the brain.

Johnson is based in Miami and in the coming months will be opening a brain wellness spa,Privée Clinic, that offers:

  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)
  • Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
  • Infrared Light Therapy
  • IV Vitamin Therapy
  • Cryotherapy
  • 10 Pass Ozone Therapy
  • Nutritional Counseling Therapy
  • Genomics Testing
  • Intensive Psycho Biological Fingerprinting
  • Telemedicine
  • Psychological Counseling

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