Former US Representative (RI); Co-Founder, One Mind for Research
A pioneer in mental health policy and advocacy, the Honorable Patrick J. Kennedy served as Representative for Rhode Island’s First Congressional District for 16 years, championing causes essential to the well-being of all Americans. During his time on Capitol Hill, Mr. Kennedy was the author and chief sponsor of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, groundbreaking legislation that guaranteed, for the first time in history, equal access to mental health and addiction services. Kennedy was the nation’s leading political voice on mental illness, addiction, and other brain diseases. Calling it the “civil rights issue of our time,” Mr. Kennedy successfully oversaw the bill’s passage, and in 2008, it was signed into law by President George W. Bush. Read More >
The Stigma of Confronting Mental Health
On Mental Health and Addition
Erasing the Stigma Award
Mental Health and Gun Violence
Kennedy Cousins Discuss Addiction and Recovery
Patrick Kennedy Discusses Bipolar Disorder With the Cast of Silver Linings Playbook
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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."