This one-day conference will provide information about how mental illness impacts our families, our businesses and our communities. The keynote speaker is former U.S. Representative Patrick J. Kennedy. A pioneer in mental health policy and advocacy, Patrick served Rhode Island’s First Congressional District for 16 years, championing causes essential to the well-being of all Americans. During his time on Capitol Hill, he was author and chief sponsor of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, groundbreaking legislation that guaranteed, for the first time in history, equal access to mental health and addiction services. He will address the key issues that are in the Parity law, including his plan for how to fix the mental healthcare system.
“CEUs: This conference has been approved for 5.8 hours for Nursing and 4.8 hours for General and Social Work”
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Healthy Minds Network | Envision2020 | SummaSource
A pioneer in mental health policy and advocacy, Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy served Rhode Island’s First Congressional District for 16 years, championing causes essential to the well-being of all Americans. During his time on Capitol Hill, Mr. Kennedy was the author and chief sponsor of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, groundbreaking legislation that guaranteed, for the first time in history, equal access to mental health and addiction services. Calling it the “civil rights issue of our time,” Mr. Kennedy successfully oversaw the bill’s passage, and in 2008, it was signed into law by President George W. Bush.
Upon leaving Congress in 2011, Mr. Kennedy made a promise: to be a vocal advocate for the full and unequivocal implementation of the 2008 Parity law, and to push for a greater global investment in brain research, which Mr. Kennedy says is the “next great frontier in medicine.”
To make that promise a reality, Mr. Kennedy has been instrumental in the formation of two innovative organizations: One Mind for Research and the Kennedy Forum on Community Mental Health.
As a co-founder of One Mind for Research, Mr. Kennedy is leading the call to revolutionize the ways we study, diagnose, and treat brain diseases. To achieve these objectives, One Mind is pioneering an innovative approach to open science that ensures that scientific research, results, and data are available and accessible to everyone. This forward-thinking approach puts a premium on collaboration and innovation, ensuring that patients will receive quicker, better, and more effective diagnosis and treatments.
Rep. Kennedy is also the founder of The Kennedy Forum on Community Mental Health. The Forum, first organized to celebrate the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s signing of the landmark Community Mental Health Act, is part of Mr. Kennedy’s ongoing national dialogue about the state of mental health in America. The Forum’s mission is to unite the nation’s health care system and rally the mental health community around a common set of principles: fully implement the 2008 parity law, bring business leaders and government agencies together to eliminate issues of stigma, work with providers to guarantee equal access to care, ensure that policymakers have the tools they need to craft better policy, and give consumers a way to understand their rights.
This fall, Mr. Kennedy will release “A Common Struggle,” which details his personal and political battle with mental illness and addiction. The book, part memoir and part call-to-action, explores mental health care’s history in the country, alongside his and every family’s private struggles.
Patrick J. Kennedy’s Key Legislative Achievements
Rep. Kennedy has authored and co-sponsored dozens of bills to increase the understanding and treatment of neurological and psychiatric disorders, including the National Neurotechnology Initiative Act, the Genomics and Personalized Medicine Act, the COMBAT PTSD Act, The Nurse-Family Partnership Act, the Positive Aging Act, the Alzheimer’s Treatment and Caregiver Support Act, and the Ready, Willing, and Able Act, which called on the Department of Homeland Security to deploy a civilian response system to blunt the psychological impact of terrorism.
Awards and Other Recognition
Rep. Kennedy has been recognized by many organizations for his mental health advocacy and leadership. He is the recipient of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology Distinguished Service Award, the Society for Neuroscience Public Service Award, the Peter C. Alderman Foundation Humanitarian Award, the Clifford Beers Foundation Centennial Award, the Autism Society of America Congressional Leadership Award, the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance Paul Wellstone Mental Health Award, and the Epilepsy Foundation Public Service Award.
For over forty years, Leon Evans has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of people with mental illness. As President and Chief Executive Officer at The Center for Health Care Services, Evans has developed an innovative and highly integrated system of care for people in the San Antonio community who struggle with mental health disorders. Utilizing strong community partnerships and diverse funding sources, Leon has created an effective public safety net that keeps people with mental illness out of emergency rooms, jails and prisons and link them to treatment programs that help them lead independent, productive lives.
Evans has developed a number of nationally recognized initiatives including the Bexar County Jail Diversion Program; the 24/7 Crisis Care Center; Crisis Intervention Training for public safety officers; and The Restoration Center, an integrated clinic providing psychiatric care, substance abuse services, transitional housing and general health care services for the homeless population. Each year, these programs save thousands of lives and result in millions of dollars in cost savings for the community.
Under Evans’ leadership, The Center for Health Care Services has received many awards, including CMS’ Innovation Award for the integration of primary and behavioral health care, the American Psychiatric Association’s Gold Award for Community Program Innovation and the National Council ‘s Service Excellence Award. In addition, Evans and CHCS have been featured in many local and national media/publications including National Public Radio, Connect4 Mental Health, and the Mental Health Channel. Evans’ successful jail diversion program has also been highlighted in the Brave New Films series Overcriminalized, and Evans was recently named by CNN as a Mental Wellness Warrior — one of nine mental health champions across the nation who are fighting for better treatment and working to defy stigma.
Evans has served in numerous leadership roles at the local, state and national level, including:
Evans maintains a rigorous travel schedule across the country advocating for improved treatment services for people suffering from mental illness. His contributions continue to transforms lives and significantly benefit the community.
James V. Perdue was appointed commissioner of the Alabama Department of Mental Health on July 1, 2015. Prior to his appointment as commissioner, he served as the Probate Judge for Crenshaw County for 12 years. He also served as President of South Central Alabama Mental Health Board and as a member of the Alabama Mental Health Advisory Board of Trustees.
Upon his appointment Governor Bentley said “We have made significant progress in the treatment for those who have mental illness, intellectual disability and substance abuse disorders in Alabama. Jim Perdue will continue to promote these efforts and work with department staff to support families and consumers of mental health services.”
Every year about 2 million people living with serious mental illness are sent to jail in the United States. That’s equivalent to the populations of the Montgomery, Birmingham, and Mobile metro areas combined. In fact, there are now more mentally ill people in jail than in psychiatric hospitals. Mentally ill inmates cost 2-3 times more to house and have longer stays. When they are released, they are more likely to return than inmates without mental illness. The criminal justice system is a poor substitute for the mental healthcare system.
Stepping Up is a national initiative to reduce the number of mentally ill people in jails. It challenges counties across the U.S. to develop their own plans to tackle this issue, and to measure the impact they are having in their communities. The River Region has accepted this challenge by passing resolutions in support of Stepping Up in all of the counties served by the Montgomery Area Mental Health Authority.