Patrick Kennedy to headline EWU and Providence conversation re mental health - Jan 31

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

SPOKANE, Washington - Patrick J. Kennedy, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and longtime advocate for health care reform related to preventive care and the treatment of mental illnesses and addiction, comes to Spokane Jan. 312018. Kennedy will lead a community forum about the importance of mental health care in our region and our nation.  

Kennedy is the keynote speaker at "Making Mental Health Essential Health," a community conversation.  The free event is presented by Providence Health Care and Eastern Washington University, Jan. 31, at the Spokane Convention Center.Doors open 5 - 6 p.m. for a presentation of local mental health resources; the keynote presentation and panel of local experts follows from 6 - 8 p.m.  

In his remarks, Kennedy will explain why and how the health care system must adapt to better accommodate mental health and addiction treatment, the underlying public policy imperatives around the Federal Parity Law, and why we need to invest in technological innovations to save lives.  

In 2013, mental illness was estimated to be the most costly condition in the world, and the systems designed to help continue to be plagued by gaps in services, access and funding that make it difficult - and sometimes impossible ­- to provide a broad continuum of care for those in need. In Spokane, community experts have repeatedly identified mental health as one of the highest areas of need.  

Since his earliest days in public service, Kennedy believed that mental health should be a national priority. After 16 years in Congress and countless bills passed, one stands out among the rest for its impact on the lives of all Americans: the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, also known as the Federal Parity Law. This bill was designed to ensure that mental health is treated on-par with physical health, breaking down decades-old practices in the health care system that kept the two areas separate from one another, often with dire consequences.  

Patrick J. Kennedy, the youngest son of the late Senator Edward "Ted" Kennedy, is the founder of The Kennedy Forum, a member of the President's Commission on Combatting Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, co-founder of One Mind, and author of the New York Times bestseller "A Common Struggle: A Personal Journey Through the Past and Future of Mental Illness and Addiction."  

The Community Health Forum is an annual presentation and community discussion of health related topics of importance to the Spokane community. It is presented by Providence Health Care and Eastern Washington University, with support from Empire Health Foundation and Kaiser Permanente.

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