Dr. Phil Clarifies Fox News Comments And Admits Numbers Error, But Reinforces Message About Mental Health

On Thursday, Dr. Phil McGraw appeared on Fox News with Laura Ingraham. During the segment, McGraw talked about the invisible impact of the lockdowns under which many Americans are living during the COVID-19 pandemic.
McGraw stated:
I can’t show you an x-ray of depression, I can’t show you an x-ray of anxiety, but the fact of the matter is the longer this lockdown goes on, the more vulnerable people get, and it’s like there’s a tipping point.
There’s a point at which people start having enough problems in lockdown that it will actually create more destruction and actually more death across time than the actual virus will itself. 250 people a year die from poverty, and the poverty line is getting such that more and more people are going to fall below that because the economy is crashing around us, and they’re doing that because people are dying from the coronavirus, I get that.
But look, the fact of the matter is, we have people dying, 45,000 people a year die from automobile accidents, 480,000 from cigarettes, 360,000 a year from swimming pools, but we don’t shut the country down for that, but yet we’re doing it for this, and the fallout is going to last for years because people’s lives are being destroyed.
Following his appearance on Fox News, McGraw received backlash. CNNThe Daily BeastPolitifact, and others criticized McGraw, claiming his analogy was faulty and that he wildly overstated the annual number of drowning deaths in the United States.
At the beginning of a Friday live-stream, McGraw set out to clarify the remarks he made on Ingraham’s show.
I’m concerned that the deterioration of the mental and physical health can be substantial from enduring prolonged quarantine while also worrying about being infected with a dreaded virus in the midst of a crashing economy, lost jobs, and an inability to even feed your family.
McGraw continued, saying that “depression, anxiety, loneliness, and a feeling of helplessness, among other things, can create problems that can last for years and cost lives.”
The TV personality added that he doesn’t mean that we should “just run back out there and start pretending that nothing has ever happened,” and that he supports the guidelines from the CDC pertaining to COVID-19. He also noted that he is of the belief that the shutdowns were necessary to protect the lives of vulnerable populations.
After expressing a desire to see a great deal of testing, and protection of the vulnerable, McGraw elaborated on his Fox News remarks:
Now last night, I said [that] we as a society have chosen to live with certain controllable deadly risk every day – smoking, auto crashes, swimming – and yes, I know that those are not contagious, so probably bad examples … and I referred to them as numbers of deaths that we apparently find acceptable because we do little or nothing about them … I probably could have used better examples about that, and by the way, I misspoke about drowning deaths. I quoted a worldwide number, not a U.S. number.
McGraw explained that the number came from the World Health Organization, and repeated that he is aware that his examples are not “contagious.” He also recommended that Americans follow state guidelines so that we can eventually return to life as normal.
McGraw, however, reiterated his concern for mental wellness, saying:
I don’t want to ignore the fact that if we [stay] locked down, that we need to pay attention to the fact that depression sets in, loneliness sets in, and that begins to erode our mental and our physical health, and if in fact it turns out that we’re going to have to be locked down for a long period of time, we need to really garner resources to help people with that, to give them the coping strategies they need, the help they need, the support they need. That’s all I’m saying.
He concluded the segment by once again telling his viewers to listen to the guidelines, “pay attention” to various mental health issues, forget the examples he offered on-air, and simply think about his message.
“Let’s stick together as Americans; let’s be certain that we care about each other,” McGraw said, later adding, “We need to take care of ourselves mentally, emotionally, and psychologically while we’re in this lockdown because I don’t want us to have problems once we get back out…”
Dr. Phil Clarifies Fox News Comments And Admits Numbers Error, But Reinforces Message About Mental Health Dr. Phil Clarifies Fox News Comments And Admits Numbers Error, But Reinforces Message About Mental Health Reviewed by CUZZ BLUE on April 19, 2020 Rating: 5

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