A Personal Journey Through the Past and Future of Mental Illness and Addiction
Blue Rider Press
On Sale: October 5, 2015
Hardcover / e-Book
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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.
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.
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