Criticism of Mental Health Parity Rebuffed

While many therapists, counselors, and other mental health professionals welcomed the recent adoption of mental health parity law in the United States, there were those who suspected that the law’s introduction would become a significant burden for policyholders, tax payers, and others involved in fronting the costs of treatment. This week, however, The Washington Times has published a letter from the head of the group Mental Health America, a letter which argues for the good financial sense of mental health parity and which may help many people gain a better understanding of therapy and other types of modernly available care.

The letter notes that while some critics have suggested that anyone can be arbitrarily diagnosed with a mental health concern, not all issues require treatment, and many can be addressed in a cost-effective manner. Moreover, the letter points to the fact that if left unchecked, some mental health concerns may cost the nation significantly more money over the long-term as associated side-effects demand medical attention and work absenteeism climbs. Treating mental health concerns early and with meaningful care, the letter points out, is often the least expensive option, a notion supported by Congressional Budget Office projections which expected a raise of less than one percent nationally for premiums.

Common misunderstandings about the potential severity of mental health concerns and dire need for psychotherapy and other types of treatment for some clients is bound to experience a decline as the world reacts to a startlingly high rate of symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other issues among citizens of every background and age-–even among modern adolescents. The Times’ recent letter may help make mental health parity a more accepted part of this decline.

© Copyright 2010 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

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  • penelope


    January 13th, 2010 at 10:17 AM

    If proper awaareness about a new policy is not created, it gives a lot of room for people to create misconceptions and wrong ideas about the policy in the minds of the general populace, thereby making it low on populartiy… The awareness part should also be undertaken along with implementation.

  • Eleanor


    January 13th, 2010 at 2:17 PM

    I completely agree that often it is not the policy that is bad, but just how badly people have blown it out of proportion that makes it seem that way. We put on blinders, see and hear what we want to, and do not do our research on topics. That leads to too much misunderstanding and misinformation getting out there. For me anything that promotes a greater awareness and understanding of mental health issues is a good thing and can only do good no matter which communities it may be introduced in.

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