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Dr. Phil Responds to Accusations TV Show Exploits Mental Illness

Dr. Phil

As The Dr. Phil Show celebrates 20 years on TV, Dr. Phil McGraw is responding to accusations that the program exploits mental illness. 

He told USA TODAY that "there is a thin line and a balance" between profiting from those with mental illness and spreading awareness of mental illness. He discussed a recent episode of The Dr. Phil Show, stating:

I spoke to the audience before the guest came out and said, 'We're going to have a guest come out here in a few minutes that has some pretty unusual thinking that might even sound comical in some regards, but I want everyone to remember that this is their life and to them, this is very real.'

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He shared that having these conversations

allows us to talk about these issues in a serious way, so people could go, 'Wow, my Uncle Bob is exactly that way, and I didn't realize this is a mental illness. It's not just him being wacky or bizarre.'

Of these topics, McGraw noted:

It's on TV for a reason. We take it seriously as we go through it and I think if you go about it that way, people respect the fact that you're doing it for a reason.