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Kennedy Forum: Agenda for Change

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The Kennedy Caucus Room, Russell Senate Office Building

2 Constitution Avenue Northeast

Washington, DC 20002

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There is no health without mental health. We have an agenda for change. The time is now.

About this Event

The opioid crisis. Skyrocketing suicides. Decreasing U.S. life expectancy. These are stark indicators of the current state of mental health in America—the most significant public health crisis of our generation. A lack of affordable and accessible mental health/addiction care is fueling the fire, leaving families across the nation desperate and searching for answers.

People want change. According to a recent poll, 75 percent of voters believe the country and the federal government are not doing enough to address mental health. Additionally, a majority of voters, regardless of party affiliation, say they are more likely to support a 2020 presidential candidate who promises to address mental health and addiction. Currently, 1 in 5 Americans has a mental health or substance use disorder. Are we approaching a tipping point where these 1 in 5 individuals could be single-issue voters?

Speakers include:

  • Former U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy (D-RI) – Founder, The Kennedy Forum, co-chair, Mental Health for US
  • Former U.S. Sen. Gordon H. Smith (R-OR) – Author of the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act, co-chair, Mental Health for US
  • U.S. Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) – House Way and Means Committee, Ways and Means Health Subcommittee
  • U.S. Rep. David Trone (D-MD) – Chair of the Freshman Working Group on Addiction
  • Andy Slavitt – Former Acting Administrator for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Board Chair, United States of Care
  • John Madigan – Senior Vice President of Public Policy, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
  • Daniel Gillison – Incoming CEO, National Alliance on Mental Illness
  • Joe Pyle, MA – President, Scattergood Foundation
  • Benjamin Miller, PsyD. – Chief Strategy Officer, Well Being Trust
  • Katherina Rosqueta – Founding Executive Director, Center for High Impact Philanthropy at the University of Pennsylvania
  • Michael Thompson – President & CEO, National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions
  • Brandon Staglin – President, OneMind
  • Tracy Neal-Walden, Ph.D – Director of The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Easterseals
  • Carmen B. - Consumer advocate

Topic Highlights:

  • Mental health parity is still illusive despite the passing of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (Federal Parity Law) over a decade ago requiring insurers 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. This finding is part of the shocking conclusion of the recent Milliman Report, which cited that mental health accounts for less than 3% of private insurance spending. Learn more about The Kennedy Forum’s call for congressional hearings on mental health parity in light of the report, as well as DontDenyMe.org, which empowers consumers and providers to understand patient rights under the Federal Parity Law and connects them with essential appeals guidance and resources. Representatives from the Parity Leadership Group, a collective led by Patrick J. Kennedy, will also provide updates at the event.
  • Mental Health for US is a first-of-its-kind nonpartisan, educational initiative to elevate mental health and addiction in policy conversations during the 2020 election cycle. Comprised of 90 stakeholder groups, including The Kennedy Forum, Mental Health for US seeks to improve the mental health literacy of policymakers and presidential candidates.
  • Well Being Trust, a national foundation dedicated to advancing mental wellness, has partnered with The Kennedy Forum to update and expand upon The Kennedy Forum’s 2017 policy guide for the 115th Congress. The new resource presents a roadmap for breaking down barriers to care and applying comprehensive solutions around mental health and addiction prevention, treatment, and recovery.
  • One Mind is a lived-experience-led mental health non-profit that catalyzes comprehensive action across the scale of the brain health crisis, working from science to patients to society. One Mind accelerates treatments and cures for mental health disorders by funding and convening scientists in collaborative research for breakthroughs that patients can use.
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The Kennedy Caucus Room, Russell Senate Office Building

2 Constitution Avenue Northeast

Washington, DC 20002

View Map

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