Patrick J. Kennedy: Profiles in Mental Health Courage - City Club of Chicago
Patrick J. Kennedy: Profiles in Mental Health Courage

Patrick J. Kennedy: Profiles in Mental Health Courage

Join us for a compelling conversation about the bravery and resilience of those living with mental illnesses and addictions.

Tuesday, Jun 25, 2024
Doors Open at 11:30 am / Event Begins at 12:00 pm

Location

Maggiano's Banquets
111 W. Grand Avenue
ChicagoIL 60654

Map and directions

Speaker

Profiles in Mental Health Courage

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 landmark 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.

In addition to the Federal Parity Law, Kennedy authored and co-sponsored dozens of bills during his time in Congress to increase the understanding and treatment of neurological and psychiatric disorders, including the Positive Aging Act; Foundations for Learning Act; National Neurotechnology Initiative Act; Genomics and Personalized Medicine Act; COMBAT PTSD Act; Nurse-Family Partnership Act; Alzheimer’s Treatment and Caregiver Support Act; and Ready, Willing, and Able Act, which called on the Department of Homeland Security to deploy a civilian response system to blunt the psychological impact of terrorism. He served on various committees and subcommittees, including the House Appropriations Committee; the Subcommittee on Health, Education and Welfare; the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education; and the Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs.

In 2013, he founded The Kennedy Forum, a non-profit organization whose mission is to lead a national dialogue on transforming mental health and addiction care delivery by uniting mental health advocates, business leaders, and government agencies around a common set of principles, including full implementation of the Federal Parity Law. The Forum aims to achieve health equity by advancing evidence-based practices, policies, political will, and programming in mental health and addiction treatment.

In 2023, Patrick Kennedy and The Kennedy Forum launched the Alignment for Progress, a National Strategy for Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders, which is a dynamic resource for federal policymakers that lays the groundwork for a community system of care and defines a shared path forward toward better mental health and substance use care for all.  At the Alignment for Progress conference, Kennedy called for “90/90/90 by 2023!” A goal to have 90% of all individuals screened for mental and substance use disorders, 90% of those in need able to receive evidence-based treatment, and 90% of those receiving treatment able to manage their symptoms in recovery.

On April 30, 2024, Patrick Kennedy’s second book with co-author, Stephen Fried, was released, “Profiles in Mental Health Courage.”   Profiles in Mental Health Courage portrays the dramatic journeys of a diverse group of Americans who have struggled with their mental health. This book offers deeply compelling stories about the bravery and resilience of those living with a variety of mental illnesses and addictions.  When Kennedy’s uncle, President John F. Kennedy, published his classic book Profiles in Courage, he hoped to inspire “political courage” by telling the stories of brave U.S. senators who changed America.  In Profiles in Mental Health Courage, former Congressman Kennedy adapts his uncle’s idea to inspire the “mental health courage” it takes for those with these conditions to treat their illnesses, and risk telling their stories to help America face its crisis in our families, our workplaces, our jails, and on our streets. The resounding silence surrounding these illnesses remains persistent, and this book takes an unflinching look at the experience of mental illness and addiction that inspires profound connection, empathy, and action. 

Amid countless recognitions, meaningful partnerships, and political affiliations, Kennedy’s most important achievement continues to be leveraging his family legacy in the arenas of civil rights, mental health, and intellectual disabilities to advance the cause of social justice and health equity for all people. He lives in New Jersey with his wife, Amy, and their children.

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City Club of Chicago event tickets are non-refundable. Tickets are transferrable. 

Our venues are wheelchair accessible. To request any other accessibility, please contact Amanda Agosti at aagosti@cityclub-chicago.org