Former Congressman (D-RI); Founder, The Kennedy Forum; Co-Founder, One Mind; Former Commissioner, President's Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis
During his 16 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, serving Rhode Island’s First Congressional District, Patrick J. Kennedy fought to end discrimination against those with mental illness, addiction, and other brain diseases. He is best known as the lead sponsor of the groundbreaking Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (Federal Parity Law), which was passed with bi-partisan support and signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 3, 2008. The Federal Parity Law provides millions of Americans, previously denied care, with access to mental health and addiction treatment by requiring insurance companies to cover treatment for mental health and substance use disorders no more restrictively than treatment for illnesses of the body, such as diabetes and cancer. Read More >
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More than 50 years ago, President John F. Kennedy asked Americans to think big, engage in the world beyond their own backyards, and make public service an integral component of everyday life. Part of the president’s cutting-edge approach to governing was to set audacious, seemingly unreachable goals…and exceed them. One of those goals was also the most storied, and most impactful: a call to reach the moon in a decade, catalyzing what is now known as the “space race.” Read More >
Today, Patrick J. Kennedy believes we’re are in a new space race, but it’s not about reaching a new planet, or exploring the cosmos. It’s a race of a different kind – a race to “inner-space,” a quest to understand the brain and brain health as much as we sought to understand the surface of the moon.
The stakes are clear – 1 in 4 Americans are touched by mental illness, whether personally or through the experience of a family member. Almost 20 million Americans have a substance abuse issue. More than 8 million people in this country have had a serious suicidal thought.
What binds these statistics together? A need to understand the underlying science of the brain, how it works, how it becomes compromised, and what we can do to achieve brain health. Patrick J. Kennedy will discuss new advances in science and policy that are leading the way toward a deeper understanding of “inner space,” and the role we all play in achieving the goal of making mental healthcare as routine, accessible, and understandable as physical healthcare. Read Less ^
Since his earliest days in public service, Patrick J. Kennedy believed that mental health should be a national priority. After 16 years in Congress, and countless bills passed, one stands out among the rest for the impact it has on the lives of all Americans – the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008. This bill ensures that mental health is treated on-par with physical health, breaking down decades-old practices in the health care system that kept those two areas separate from one another, often with dire consequences. Read More >
Patrick J. Kennedy will discuss why mental health is critical to the overall health and wellbeing of all Americans, why the healthcare system needs to adapt to better accommodate mental healthcare, the underlying public policy imperatives of parity and why we need to invest in innovation.
Kennedy will also discuss his own journey toward mental health and recovery, and how he sees the world today. Read Less ^
An overwhelming majority of the public agrees that mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety and alcohol or drug abuse are serious public health problems. Almost as many believe that the current way we are handling mental health needs to change.
This presentation will focus on the necessary steps that will fulfill President Kennedy’s vision of ensuring the best possible mental well-being for every American. Discussion topics will include implementation of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, ways to accelerate advances in diagnostics, treatments and cures, and how we can integrate mental health into the mainstream of American medicine. The result will be improved outcomes for patients and lower costs for everyone.
"He was awesome and received a standing ovation. It was a pleasure working with him."
"It was excellent. As always, his remarks were right on point, and he was characteristically personable, but I think writing the book has given him even more substance and depth! He honestly exceeded our expectations!"
"Patrick was wonderful – engaging and relatable. He also very kindly and tactfully handled an audience member who has special needs (autism and mild MR) who was very eager to share her story."
"Patrick Kennedy brought the house down—highest rated speaker of our conference. We can’t thank you and him enough."
"It was wonderful having Mr. Kennedy at our conference. It was very inspiring to hear his speech and all the things he has done and continues to do for the Mental Health population. All the attendees had amazing things to say about Mr. Kennedy and his keynote; he was even kind enough to take pictures with some of them on his way out!"
"I was very impressed with Patrick Kennedy's personal style and ability to keep the large young audience engaged. It was very well organized and a wonderful way to launch discussions about the common experience topics. I was also impressed with the questions. Great work everyone!"
"The Congressman was wonderful. He gave a stirring speech that all in attendance found energizing. I appreciate his unique ability to bring diverse, personal stories into a coherent, focused call to action."
"It was AWESOME! Mr. Kennedy was a wonderful speaker and very graciously spoke with people after his speech and allowed lots of photos. I received a ton of compliments on him and the entire evening. I scored big points with my executive team and board members, so that’s always a good thing."