The Kennedy Forum Illinois

Agenda for Change: Unite. Connect. Act.

February 6, 2020
9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Washington, DC

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?

Join former U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, members of Congress, health care policy leaders, philanthropists, and advocates as they highlight the most substantial barriers in access to mental health and addiction care our nation faces and spotlight several opportunities to unite and act boldly for change.

Topic and Partner 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, 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 more than 80 stakeholder groups, including The Kennedy Forum, Mental Health for US seeks to improve the mental health literacy of policymakers and presidential candidates.
  • The Center for High Impact Philanthropy at the University of Pennsylvania and The Kennedy Forum will spotlight their new guide outlining philanthropic recommendations for aligning financial investments with the needs of those with mental health and addiction challenges to drive social change.
  • 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.


Date And Time
Thursday, February 6, 2020
9:30 AM – 11:30 AM EST

The Kennedy Caucus Room, Russell Senate Office Building
2 Constitution Avenue Northeast
Washington, DC 20002

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