Former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy (D-R.I.), youngest son of the late Senator Edward “Ted” M. Kennedy, will speak at Saint Thomas Roman Catholic Church, located at 331 8th Street, Brigantine, on Sept. 24, 2-4 p.m. His remarks will cover a range of issues, including his book, “A Common Struggle,” his mental health parity advocacy campaign, and the need to improve mental health and addiction treatment coverage. The free event is open to the public.
“The time is now, to remedy the way we have historically viewed and treated individuals living with mental health and addiction issues,” states former Congressman Kennedy.
During his 16-year career representing Rhode Island in Congress, Kennedy fought to end medical and societal discrimination against those also struggling with these health issues. A major career highlight for Kennedy was his co-sponsorship and the subsequent enactment of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, also known as the Federal Parity Law.
In 2015, Kennedy co-authored “A Common Struggle,” a New York Times best seller. His autobiography candidly details his personal journey with mental health and addiction issues and includes a bold plan for the future of mental health policy, offering a much-needed roadmap to achieve equity in the mental health community.
In May, the former Congressman was appointed to the Presidential Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. The five-member panel is tasked with making recommendations to improve the effectiveness of the coordinated federal response to the drug addiction and the opioid crisis.
“Mental health and addiction are bipartisan issues, affecting all Americans, that can and must unite us as we work to strengthen communities, rebuild families, end stigma, and ultimately save lives,” he said at an event in Washington earlier this year.
“It’s time to reduce the rates of suicide and drug overdose deaths at rates commensurate with the progress we’ve made in reducing deaths from other chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease,” he said. “We must seize the opportunity to proactively focus on health equity, especially mental health equity, as the civil rights issue of our time.”
In recent years, Kennedy has been honored with humanitarian and other awards from the Mental Health Association, McLean Hospital, American Psychiatric Association, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, NAMI, New York Academy of Science, and other leaders in the mental health community.
“We are excited that Patrick will share his professional and personal experiences with members of our parish,” says Deacon Leonard Long. “He has led an extraordinary life with many valuable lessons that we can all learn from as individuals and as a community looking to help others today and in the future.”
The former Congressman lives in long-term recovery from opiate addiction in New Jersey with his wife, Amy, and their four children. He is the founder of The Kennedy Forum, a mission-driven organization focused on mental health parity and public policy; and co-founder of One Mind, a global leader in open science collaboration in brain research.
If you go:
Former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy will speak at Saint Thomas Roman Catholic Church, located at 331 Eighth Street, Brigantine, on Sept. 24, 2-4 p.m.
For more details on former Congressman Kennedy’s endeavors, visit www.TheKennedyForum.org and www.patrickjkennedy.net