To the Editor of The New York Times:

After reading Furious Lobbying Is Set Off by Bill on Mental Health(front page, Nov. 6), I received an e-mail from a former patient, a kind and gentle young woman. She said her sister had received a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, as has she, and was involuntarily hospitalized for three weeks. A day after being discharged, the woman, still despondent, took her own life with her father’s gun.

Despite all the awareness about the powerful impact of emotions stimulated by the Sept. 11 attacks, we again face news that employers and insurance companies are lobbying against parity for mental health coverage because of the cost. As if preservation of life, its quality and our dignity were not of incalculable value.


The writer is a clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington.

Published New York Times November 12, 2001