A Common Struggle: A Personal Journey Through the Past and Future of Mental Illness and Addiction
Patrick J. Kennedy, Stephen Fried
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
**A New York Times Bestseller**
**Now with an updated resource guide and a national platform for mental illness**
Patrick J. Kennedy, the former congressman and youngest child of Senator Ted Kennedy, details his personal and political battle with mental illness and addiction, exploring mental health care's history in the country alongside his and every family's private struggles.
On May 5, 2006, the New York Times ran two stories, “Patrick Kennedy Crashes Car into Capitol Barrier” and then, several hours later, “Patrick Kennedy Says He'll Seek Help for Addiction.” It was the first time that the popular Rhode Island congressman had publicly disclosed his addiction to prescription painkillers, the true extent of his struggle with bipolar disorder and his plan to immediately seek treatment. That could have been the end of his career, but instead it was the beginning.
Since then, Kennedy has become the nation’s leading advocate for mental health and substance abuse care, research and policy both in and out of Congress. And ever since passing the landmark Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act--and after the death of his father, leaving Congress--he has been changing the dialogue that surrounds all brain diseases.
A Common Struggle weaves together Kennedy's private and professional narratives, echoing Kennedy's philosophy that for him, the personal is political and the political personal. Focusing on the years from his 'coming out' about suffering from bipolar disorder and addiction to the present day, the book examines Kennedy's journey toward recovery and reflects on Americans' propensity to treat mental illnesses as "family secrets."
Beyond his own story, though, Kennedy creates a roadmap for equality in the mental health community, and outlines a bold plan for the future of mental health policy. Written with award-winning healthcare journalist and best-selling author Stephen Fried, A Common Struggle is both a cry for empathy and a call to action.
day at a time. And that was, really, when Amy and I finally found one another. — AS WE WERE WORKING through all this, I was co-founding a new nonprofit and planning a huge international conference—which was going to happen in May whether I was ready for it or not, because I had already reserved the JFK Presidential Library. When I had first decided to use the “moon shot” imagery to organize the disparate stakeholders in the world of brain science, I had asked my cousin Caroline if we could
pretty bleak. I was apparently defective long-term, the curse of the illness. I was eighteen and knew I was already considered hopeless. I can understand how, at the time, this wasn’t such a hard vision to subscribe to. My mom was already totally incapacitated by this illness. But nobody should ever put a teenager in that kind of box. — YEARS LATER, I had a revelation about this time period with my dad. He admitted that before I went to rehab, “I knew you were in trouble.” When I asked how,
the ones ongoing for 1988 and finally submitted them for insurance. What is particularly interesting about the correspondence—on which I was copied (and which I never looked at until recently)—is the way my dad’s staffers explained to him the new managed care rules for mental healthcare coverage. “Reimbursement of mental illness care is limited under the insurance policy,” they wrote. “A MAXIMUM of 50 visits per calendar year are reimbursed at 70% of the usual and customary charges allowed;
of testimony in Congress. But to hear this from senators, late in the evening on the floor of the Senate in 1996, was a revelation. Almost equally shocking was that after the senators spoke so movingly, my father got up and moved that their amendment be tabled. He said he was completely in agreement with them in theory, but he thought the amendment would undermine the chances for his main piece of legislation to get through Congress and be signed into law. But Domenici and Wellstone refused to
illness as my sole explanation for my behavior—I was also too immature and insecure to be in a committed relationship and didn’t even know what one looked like. But I am solely responsible for the infidelities that blew up that relationship. When I admitted to Kate what I had done and begged for her forgiveness, she decided we should spend some time apart. When that time apart extended from the start of summer into when she was about to start law school in the fall and I hadn’t convinced her—or