Nichols Letter to Times Counters Calls for Forced BH Treatment

NYAPRS Note: Following is an impassioned letter from Albany’s Grace Nichols in response to a recent NY Times magazine article, “When My Crazy Father Actually Lost His Mind” that advocated for mandated outpatient treatment orders (  The Times misprinted the letter in Saturday’s edition, mistakenly adding sentences from another reader.


Letter to the New York Times

Published July 6, 2012


"As a person living with bipolar disorder, I have dramatically different experiences from those of the author, Jeneen Interlandi.

Forced treatment in the behavioral- health services of state and private hospitals has not helped me.

It drove me away in fear of the level of force, dishonesty, coercion, incarceration without trial, seclusion and restraint.

Meanwhile, I earned various college degrees, raised two splendid children on my own, put both into good colleges and generally defied the dismal predictions of the professionals who worked on my “case.”

There are many things family members can do to support voluntary services, and they can act to oppose job and housing discrimination.

In these things, our relatives can turn out to be our allies rather than our persecutors."