President Obama, speaking earlier today at conference on mental health at the White House:
"There are other people who are leading by example. My great friend, Patrick Kennedy, when he was running for reelection back in 2006, he could have avoided talking about his struggles with bipolar disorder and addiction. Let’s face it, he’s a Kennedy," said Obama.
After the audience stopped laughing, Obama continued, "He was -- his seat was pretty safe. Everybody loved him. And yet, Patrick used his experience as a way to connect and to lift up these issues, not hide from them."
And one day, a woman came up to Patrick at a senior center and told him she was afraid to tell her friends she was taking medication for a mental illness because she was worried they might treat her differently. She told Patrick, “You’re the only one who knows aside from my son.” And so Patrick started realizing how much power there could be for people to speak out on these issues. And Patrick carried these stories back with him to Washington, where he worked with a bipartisan group of lawmakers, including his dad, to make sure the mental health services you get through your insurance plan at work are covered the same way that physical health services are -- a huge victory. (Applause.)