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High School Essay Contest

"The 2008 Federal Parity Law in the United States requires insurers to cover illnesses of the brain, such as depression or addiction, no more restrictively than illnesses of the body, such as diabetes or cancer. As rates of suicides and overdoses continue to climb nationwide, mental health parity is more important than ever. Unfortunately, many insurers are still not following the law."

See Don't Deny Me for more information.


1. Must be a highschool student in 9th to 12th grades.

2. Must provide your high school teacher or counselors information for verfication. 

Topic: Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equality Act

Research the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equality Act. Draft a letter to a politician or insurance/healthcare provider about one of the following:

- why is it critical for mental illness to be treated equally to physical illness in our healthcare system?

- if your country does not have a similar law or healthcare provision, why should your policymakers adopt similar legislation to the Mental Health Partiy and Addiction Equality Act?

In your letter explain how the mental healthcare is necessary for the wellbeing of all people, perhaps using a personal experience as an example.

Essays should be between 500-1000 words.


We are pleased to announce that 3 winners will receive cash prizes and their letters used as a template for future advocacy that will be featured on our website!

1st Place- $1000

2nd Place- $500

3rd Place- $250

2018 Winners 

1st Place: Jaime Park
Read Jaime's letter here.
2nd Place: Elena Hirsch
Read Elena's letter here.
3rd Place: Sydney Waltner
Read Sydney's letter here.
I pledge that this essay is my own work. I agree to abide by all guidelines and requirements of International Bipolar Foundation's (IBPF) Essay Contest. I understand that my essay will not be returned and will become the property of IBPF to use at its discretion. I understand that the judges' decisions are final.