Kennedy, the nephew of President
One such proposal, proposed by
"When they block grant
Kennedy, considered one of the nation's leading mental health advocates, was one of two keynote speakers at the Cultural Competence Summit XX, a two-day mental health care conference aimed at highlighting local programs that bridge the gap between mental health services and minority groups such as the
The former congressman spoke of the need to overcome shame and stigma surrounding mental illness, as well as the struggle to make insurance companies cover mental health services at the same level they do for physical health care -- a concept known as "parity." As a Democratic member of
He said given the political climate in
"We're all freaked out about the potential loss of ACA," she said referring to Obama's Affordable Care Act. "I want to get my head around the big picture again. This is helpful and inspiring to be around so many people with the same motivation."
This year's Cultural Competence Summit was organized by the
Following Kennedy's speech, suicide survivor and suicide-prevention advocate
Berthia, who also suffers from mental illness, said it was someone "listening" to him that saved his life
Berthia, now a spokesman for the
"Every single individual in this room can do what Briggs did for me that day," he said.
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