Obama Praises Former Rhode Island Lawmaker Patrick Kennedy

Jun 4, 2013

President Obama praised former Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy for his support of legislation that made mental health coverage mandatory on health insurance policies.

The president’s remarks came Monday at the White House National Conference on Mental Health. In his opening remarks, the president praised several individuals, including Kennedy, who struggled with bipolar disorder and substance abuse during his years representing Rhode Island.

"My great friend, Patrick Kennedy, when he was running for re-election back in 2006, he could have avoided talking about his struggles with bipolar disorder and addiction. Let’s face it. He’s a Kennedy. His seat was pretty safe. Everybody loved him. And yet Patrick used his experience as a way to connect and to life up these issues, not hide from them."

The president says it’s time to remove the stigma of mental illness, a condition that affects one-in-five adults in the United States.