Press Releases

NAMI Praises Patrick Kennedy for Courage in Acknowledging Depression

Statement by Laurie Flynn, Executive Director National Alliance for the Mentally Ill

Mar 01 2000

We applaud the courage of U.S. Representative Patrick J. Kennedy (D-RI) in disclosing publicly that he has battled depression since adolescence, takes medication, and regularly sees a psychiatrist.

His candor will help to break down the stigma that still surrounds mental illness. His example may make a difference in the lives of millions of Americans who otherwise suffer in silence. Treatment works-if you get it.

We especially applaud his acknowledgement that when people don't get adequate treatment, they may pursue wrong solutions-such as substance abuse. But that doesn't mean that a person can't recover. Patrick Kennedy stands today as a model of someone who not only recovered, but prevailed.

Significantly, Representative Kennedy now joins Representative Lynn Rivers (D-MI) as one of only two members of Congress who have talked publicly about their experience with mental illness. We know, however, that no one is immune. Many American families are affected by depression. In the 2000 presidential campaign, Vice-President Gore, Governor Bush and Senator McCain all have close family members who have struggled with the illness.