There are many best practices to treat mental illness, but care providers aren’t always aware of them.
And even when they learn about them, providers may still hesitate to use them.
“We need to do a better job of disseminating these best practices. We also need to find innovative ways to engage all people and systems to embrace them as a mechanism for restoring the lives of people with mental illness,” says Rick Kellar, president of Peg’s Foundation, a longtime funding partner of NEOMED’s Coordinating Centers of Excellence.
So, when Kellar heard that the focus of the first VITALS event for the 2021-22 season was disruptive leadership in mental health care, he was thrilled.
Enter Patrick J. Kennedy. The former U.S. representative, who served as the lead author of the landmark Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (Federal Parity Law) ― which requires insurers to cover treatment for mental health and substance use disorders no more restrictively than treatment for illnesses of the body ― will be the featured speaker on VITALS, Thursday at noon, Sept. 2, 2021.
As founder of The Kennedy Forum, Kennedy now unites advocates, policymakers, and business leaders to advance evidence-based practices and policies in mental health and addiction. In 2017 he was appointed to the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. He currently serves as co-chair of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention’s Mental Health & Suicide Prevention National Response to COVID-19 and co-chair of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Behavioral Health Integration Task Force.
Kennedy will have 17 minutes – the average amount of time for a physician-patient visit – to share insights about his advocacy for those with mental illness. He will then spend about 40 minutes answering questions from attendees.
“Patrick has been relentless in his efforts to bring positive change to the way mental illness is treated, isolated and reimbursed. He’s a great friend and advocate for those with mental illness and their families,” says Kellar, whose personal friendship with Kennedy has grown over the years through their shared commitment to mental health advocacy.
Kellar was excited when he heard that Kennedy had agreed to engage medical professionals and students in much-needed discourse, and he eagerly accepted the invitation to serve as a guest moderator for the Q&A portion of the program.
The VITALS series has been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and Policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) and the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) through the sponsorship of Northeast Ohio Medical University.
NEOMED is accredited by the ACCME and the ACPE to provide continuing education for physicians and pharmacists.