From former U.S. Representative Patrick J. Kennedy & Stephen Fried: Revealing stories that will change how we talk about mental health

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Profiles in Mental Health Courage by Patrick J. Kennedy and Stephen Fried

Coming April 30, 2024

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

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, which sponsors brain research and open science collaboration, 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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