Share story

Former King County Executive Randy Revelle, whose personal struggles with bipolar disorder and insurance discrimination helped galvanize his fight for mental-health parity in Washington state, will receive a national award in Washington, D.C., Wednesday.

Revelle, now a senior vice president at the Washington State Hospital Association, is among five people receiving the Welcome Back Award from the Eli Lilly and Company for achievements in helping promote understanding that depression is real, common and treatable.

Revelle helped change Washington law both through his political efforts and by being open about his own story, including relating how, in the 1970s, he nearly killed his two young children during a psychotic episode brought on by his then-untreated bipolar disorder.

In order to get him treatment after that episode, Revelle has said, his father, a judge, had to threaten to jail a doctor, who was forced to lie about the diagnosis, because his insurer didn’t cover psychiatric treatments.

The award comes with a $10,000 donation to the not-for-profit of his choice, which Revelle will give to Navos, a Seattle-based mental health organization focused on low-income people living with mental illness.