Nearly 10 years ago, I (Patrick Kennedy) crashed my car into a barrier at the U.S. Capitol at 3 in the morning. The very next day, I began the process of trying to have a conversation about what it’s like to suffer from mental illness and addiction.
Not everyone was in favor of me being open about all of this. Even my father, Sen. Ted Kennedy, didn’t really get it — at least not when it came to our own family, which shows that even the most committed, informed leaders on health care can still have old-school, unprocessed ideas about diseases of the brain.
I keep hearing that the 2016 presidential campaign is about big ideas and authenticity. Here’s a big idea that every person suffering from a mental illness or an addiction, and every American affected by those illnesses (so, everybody), knows is authentic.
Let’s start talking about every problem we have in this country in terms of how it can be addressed through improving diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental illness and addiction. For more problems than you think — health care, criminal justice, employment, homelessness, even the endless cycle of tragic school shootings — it is the only reasonable, evidence-based approach we have never tried.
In my family, we almost never discussed these issues, even though my mother and both of my siblings and I were treated for substance use disorders (and my mother and I for mental illness) — and my father, who in today’s diagnostic world would probably have been seen as self-medicating against the PTSD of watching his brothers be killed, certainly would have benefited from medical care. Instead, we treated these issues like they were big secrets, even though there were entire sections in bookstores devoted to our family’s “secrets.”
Full article Here: http://www.usatoday.com/story/opini.../73442434/
How wide spread do you believe mental illness is? How open are we to acknowledge the results of the trauma of sin and evil upon each other? What do you think about Kennedy's acknowledgement?