January 31, 2015

Fox Business commentator Tom Sullivan hasn't got any use for anyone who suffers from psychiatric disorders, especially people who have bipolar disorder.

Media Matters:

Fox News Radio host Tom Sullivan told a caller who said she suffered from bipolar disorder that her illness is "something made up by the mental health business" and just "the latest fad." When the caller told Sullivan that she "would not be alive today" if she hadn't received mental health treatment, Sullivan wondered if "maybe somebody's talked you into feeling and thinking this way."

Sullivan, who is also a frequent Fox Business contributor and guest anchor, began his January 28 program by complaining that people with mental illness have figured how to "game the system" by receiving disability benefits. "They're mostly government employees and they know how to do it," he added. Sullivan also defended Sen. Rand Paul's (R-KY) controversial and false statement that "Over half the people on disability are either anxious or their back hurts."

This is really evil talk right here. It's all about the money, honey.

Sullivan responded by telling her, "I've got to tell you, if you haven't been told, I will tell you. I think bipolar is like the latest fad. Everybody and their brother is getting diagnosed with bipolar. And last time I checked, we all have good days and we all have bad. And I don't consider that an illness. And I don't consider it a disability."

He added that bipolar disorder is "something made up by the mental health business just to be able to give people prescriptions and keep them coming in, and keeping you -- paying them money."

The lack of compassion and empathy is stunning. It's so easy to wave away those struggling with mental illness by calling them malingerers and government employees, but it's also a big load of crap.

The American Psychological Association states that "Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness in which common emotions become intensely and often unpredictably magnified. Individuals with bipolar disorder can quickly swing from extremes of happiness, energy and clarity to sadness, fatigue and confusion. These shifts can be so devastating that individuals may choose suicide." The National Institute of Mental Health similarly notes that "Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness" and "If not treated, bipolar disorder can lead to damaged relationships, poor job or school performance, and even suicide."

If you know someone who suffers from bipolar disorder, you know this is true. My paternal grandmother was bipolar before that diagnosis was available, and it made our family miserable for years. It ultimately destroyed our family relationships and more.

It's not a fad, it's not an invention, and shame on this man for stigmatizing those who suffer from it.

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