August 13, 2014

Kennedy: ‘We have an epidemic of addiction and mental illness.’

            Former U.S. Representative Patrick Kennedy spoke about suicide, mental illness and the need for more awareness at an event at Hope House, a substance abuse treatment center in Boston.

            Kennedy, son of the late Senator Ted Kennedy, framed Robin William’s death within the larger picture of a mental health crisis.

            “In addition to Robin Williams… there were 100 other Americans who successfully took their life yesterday. There were 2,000 more who attempted suicide. Today, again, 100 Americans successfully took their lives,” Kennedy said. “We have an epidemic in this country of untreated mental illness and addiction.”

            Kennedy has bipolar disorder, and has struggled with drug and alcohol addiction in the past. During his speech, he addressed the idea that people can pull themselves out of depression.

“Robin Williams was a brilliant person, there's no shortage of intellect there,” he said. “If someone couldn't think their way out of this like Robin Williams with his intellect, it just illustrates that this is a physical illness.”

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