By Daniel Palomo
University News Service
September 30, 2013
Patrick Joseph Kennedy II, co-founder of One Mind for Research and son of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, will deliver the LBJ Distinguished Lecture Tuesday, Oct. 8 as part of the Common Experience at Texas State University.
The lecture will begin at 7 p.m. in Evans Auditorium on campus. The event is free and open to the public.
Common Experience is an initiative, started in 2004, that seeks to create a dialogue for students and the community based around one theme. The Common Experience theme for 2013-2014 is “Minds Matter: Exploring Mental Health and Illness.”
Kennedy served as the U.S. representative from Rhode Island’s first district for 16 years and authored and co-authored numerous mental health bills. Kennedy has called for “… a national conversation on mental health that will allow us to finally remove the stigma surrounding mental illness and continue tackling a number of pressing mental health challenges.”
His presence at Texas State coincides with the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s Community Mental Health Act that laid groundwork for mental health policies in the United States today. Four years later, Texas State alumnus President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Mental Health Amendments of 1967 that furthered mental health services in the United States.
Kennedy himself received a diagnosis of bipolar disorder during his time in public service and has published a memoir that details his struggles with alcoholism, drug addiction and depression. He cites the passion he feels towards ending the stigma of mental health as the reason he left political life although his departure in 2010 marked the first time in 63 years that a member of the Kennedy family held a federal office.
In 2010, following the loss of his father which prompted his subsequent decision not to run for congress, Kennedy co-founded One Mind for Research. One Mind for Research is a non-profit organization involved in numerous aspects related to mental illness and brain injury including research, funding, marketing and public awareness. One of its main initiatives is to create portals for shared scientific data to more effectively communicate mental health research. He also serves on the national advisory committee for Active Minds, a student advocacy group focused on changing the conversation about mental health on college campuses, part of the goal of this year’s Common Experience.
About the LBJ Lecture
The annual Lyndon Baines Johnson Lecture, initiated in 1982 to honor the former president and Texas State graduate, recognizes the importance of education to the continuing prosperity of the nation. Through the series, Texas State works to perpetuate the former president’s high educational ideals by bringing outstanding individuals to campus to meet with students and faculty and present public lectures. Previous lectures include former Congresswoman Barbara Jordan and former President Gerald Ford.