Patrick's Message

For generations, America has separated mental health and physical health – creating siloed systems that discriminate against individuals with mental health and addiction. The need for reforms across multiple systems has never been clearer. 

We need to embrace the fundamental truth that mental health is essential health.

Systemic changes are necessary to improve outcomes: specific policy measures that build on the Federal Parity Act and the Affordable Care Act are urgently needed and are articulated in this National Strategy.

We further insist that the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) incorporate Mental Health into its Strategy Blueprint and that the office be elevated to the Cabinet Level to oversee implementation.  These steps will advance the likelihood of unifying the common agendas of mental and physical health and aligning the disparate agency and departmental budgets around a common goal, as well as ensuring the systemic adoption of National Strategy recommendations.

This National Strategy is a starting point for where our systems and the policies that govern them need to go. The Kennedy Forum welcomes your feedback on this work.


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Patrick J. Kennedy
Founder, The Kennedy Forum
Former U.S. Representative (D-RI)