March 9, 2010

Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy Recognized for Advocacy Work on Mental Health Issues

WASHINGTON – Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy (D-RI) was honored on March 8 by the American Psychological Association for his advocacy work and legislative accomplishments on mental health issues. The APA presented Kennedy with the 2010 Outstanding Leadership Award, given annually to a member of Congress who has prominently championed the goals of professional psychology.

“Congressman Kennedy has been a tireless crusader of mental health rights,” says Katherine C. Nordal, PhD, APA executive director for professional practice. "APA is delighted to present this award to someone who was instrumental in enacting a federal law that now bans unequal health insurance coverage of mental and physical health."

Congressman Kennedy was the longtime sponsor of the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act that was signed into law in 2008. In addition to Congressman Kennedy’s commitment to mental health parity and integrated care, he has worked to avert the Medicare Sustainable Growth rate cuts and extend the restoration of Medicare reimbursement that was cut from outpatient mental health services in 2007.

Congressman Kennedy has assisted in the promotion of mental health through introducing legislation to help states respond to the psychological effects of terrorism, to address crisis shortages of children’s mental health providers, and to keep families with severely mentally ill children together. As a member of the Appropriations committee, he successfully advocated for increased spending on community mental health and mental healthcare for seniors.

Congressman Kennedy is currently serving his eighth term in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Congressman sits on the Appropriations, and Oversight and Government Reform committees. He will be retiring in 2010.

The American Psychological Association Practice Organization is an affiliate of the American Psychological Association, the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. APA's membership includes more than 152,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students.