From Former US Representative Patrick J. Kennedy and Stephen Fried. Revealing stories that will change how we talk about mental health.

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Profiles in Mental Health Courage

Patrick J. Kennedy, Stephen Fried

Profiles in Mental Health Courage portrays the dramatic journeys of a diverse group of Americans who have struggled with their mental health. This book offers deeply compelling stories about the bravery and resilience of those living with a variety of mental illnesses and addictions.

Several years ago, Patrick J. Kennedy shared the story of his personal and family challenges with mental illness and addiction—and the nation’s—in his bestselling memoir, A Common Struggle. Now, he and his Common Struggle coauthor, award-winning healthcare journalist Stephen Fried, have crafted this powerful new book sharing the untold stories of others—a special group who agreed to talk about their illnesses, treatments, and struggles for the first time.

When Kennedy’s uncle, President John F. Kennedy, published his classic book Profiles in Courage, he hoped to inspire “political courage” by telling the stories of brave U.S. senators who changed America. 
In Profiles in Mental Health Courage, former Congressman Kennedy adapts his uncle’s idea to inspire the “mental health courage” it takes for those with these conditions to treat their illnesses, and risk telling their stories to help America face its crisis in our families, our workplaces, our jails, and on our streets. The resounding silence surrounding these illnesses remains persistent, and this book takes an unflinching look at the experience of mental illness and addiction that inspires profound connection, empathy, and action.
In this book, you’ll meet people of all ages, backgrounds, and futures, across politics and government, Hollywood and the arts, tech and business, sports and science—some recovering, some relapsing, some just barely holding on, but all sharing experiences and insights we need to better understand. You’ll also meet those trying to help them through—parents, siblings, spouses, therapists, bosses, doctors, and friends who create the extended families needed to support care and wellness.
The personal stories they share with Kennedy and Fried are intimate, sometimes shocking, always revealing. And they are essential reading for caregivers, family members, policymakers, and the general public—just as they are for those who often feel alone in experiencing these challenges themselves.

Read an excerpt from Profiles in Mental Health Courage

Praise for Profiles in Mental Health Courage

“I assumed that nothing in a book of essays about people struggling with their mental health could surprise me. Then I read … Patrick J. Kennedy’s Profiles in Mental Health Courage, written with Stephen Fried … about the complicated relationship between addiction and mental health … a former congressman with his own history of substance abuse and bipolar disorder, [he] introduces readers introduces readers to … people living with mental illness who are not only functioning, but helping others” – Judith Newman, New York Times Book Review

“A heartrending portrait of mental illness and substance abuse disorder in America… [Patrick J. Kennedy and Stephen Fried] fulfill their mission to improve visibility for those struggling to get help, and take a step toward rectifying the widespread lack of understanding about mental illnesses and substance disorders, which they argue is ‘as big an epidemic as the diseases themselves’…a revealing window into an important and timely issue.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“An insightful, compelling book … that could alter perception of addiction, mental health and treatment in the U.S. … heartbreaking and inspiring.” —Kirkus

“Richly informative, harrowing, and moving, these courageously shared tales cast much-needed light on the many obstacles to mental health.” Booklist

“Patrick Kennedy has done so much to advance how we talk about and address mental illnesses and addictions. In Profiles in Mental Health Courage, he and journalist Stephen Fried have created something new: twelve amazing stories that could really change the way Americans understand and appreciate these illnesses, and enable us, finally, to talk to each other about them. As I’ve learned myself, there is no way to improve mental health treatment without being open and honest, as the courageous people who agreed to be profiled in this powerful book have done.” —Michael Phelps

“In a country where mental illness is still not seen as a disease, (despite the fact that we are reaching epic proportions) this book helps illuminate the crisis across America, from homes to workplaces, in jails and out on the streets.  This unflinching look at the silent epidemic touching so many individuals and families is inspiring and human, helping us form a connection to something that is all too often simply a headline or a news report, and is so deserving of our attention and focus.” —Lee Woodruff

Profiles in Mental Health Courage is a miracle, a book that will help and heal and inspire. I honestly do not know how the authors did it, but their ability to get the participants to lay their souls bare in such intimate detail, is both remarkable and profound. So many books profess to help in the woefully misunderstood area of mental health: this one does in a way that is unprecedented, riveting, readable and rooted in humanity.” —Buzz Bissinger, author of Friday Night Lights

"Teachers encounter students and families facing a variety of mental health conditions, including addiction. They’ll benefit from exploring the stories in this book, hopefully gaining empathy and understanding instead of feeling fear and dismissiveness." —We Are Teachers

A Common Struggle by Patrick J. Kennedy, Stephen Fried

A Common Struggle

Patrick J. Kennedy, Stephen Fried

**New York Times Bestseller**

Patrick J. Kennedy, the former congressman and youngest child of Senator Ted Kennedy, details his personal and political battle with mental illness and addiction, exploring mental health care's history in the country alongside his and every family's private struggles.

On May 5, 2006, the New York Times ran two stories, “Patrick Kennedy Crashes Car into Capitol Barrier” and then, several hours later, “Patrick Kennedy Says He'll Seek Help...

Patrick J. Kennedy

Patrick J. Kennedy

Patrick J. Kennedy is a former member of the U.S. Congress, the nation’s leading political voice on mental illness, addiction, and other brain diseases, and the New York Times bestselling coauthor of A Common Struggle. During his sixteen-year career representing Rhode Island, he fought a national battle to end medical and societal discrimination against mental illnesses, highlighted by his lead sponsorship of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008—and his brave openness about his own health challenges. Soon after his father, Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy, passed away, he left Congress to devote his career to advocacy for mental health. He has since founded The Kennedy Forum, which unites the community of mental health, and cofounded One Mind for Research, as well as other nonprofit organizations addressing these issues. He lives in New Jersey with his wife, Amy, and their five children.

Stephen Fried
Photo: © Jim Graham/Graham Studios Inc

Stephen Fried

Stephen Fried is an award-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author who teaches at Columbia University and the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author, most recently, of the historical biographies Rush and Appetite for America, and coauthor, with Congressman Patrick Kennedy, of A Common Struggle; his earlier books include Thing of Beauty, Bitter Pills, and The New Rabbi. A two-time winner of the National Magazine Award, Fried has written frequently for Vanity Fair, GQ, The Washington Post Magazine, Glamour, and Philadelphia Magazine. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife, author Diane Ayres.

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