Timeline

1988

Elected to Rhode Island Legislature

1988

Patrick became the youngest member of the Kennedy family to hold public office when he won election to the Rhode Island House of Representatives at age 21 while a junior at Providence College.

Served as the Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee

1999

Patrick became the Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Patrick served as the Chairman until 2001.

Begins Service on the Powerful Appropriations Committee

2001

Patrick joined the House Appropriations Committee where he served on two subcommittees: (1) Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies and (2) Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies. This is the influential panel that has authority over all of the federal government’s discretionary spending. While Patrick was appointed to the Appropriations Committee in 1998, he did not begin his position until after his tenure as Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Passed Monumental Legislation on Children’s Mental Health

2001

Patrick was the lead sponsor of the Foundations for Learning Act. This bill established a grant program to improve mental and emotional health for school children through screening and early intervention. The bill was incorporated into the No Child Left Behind law, which was signed into law by President George W. Bush on January 9, 2002.

Brought Awareness to Information Technology Through National Conference

2004

Patrick organized the first of several Frontiers of Healthcare conferences, which focused on transforming healthcare through information technology. Patrick was joined with then Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich at the conference.

Championed Law on the Prevention and Early Intervention of College Suicides

2004

Patrick was instrumental in the passage of the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act. This law increased access to mental health services for college students and expanded youth suicide prevention and early intervention.

Championed legislation to expand the use of electronic health records

2010

Patrick introduced the Health Information Technology Extension for Behavioral Health Services Act to improve the diagnosis and treatment of mental health conditions and addictions by extending financial incentive eligibility to behavioral health providers for the use of electronic health records.

Marriage to Amy Savell

2011

Read Amy's bio

Founded the Kennedy Forum

2013

Through the Kennedy Forum, Patrick advances an ambitious agenda to transform the way America views and treats mental health and addiction. The Forum pursues change through five key principles: payer accountability, provider accountability, integration and coordination, technology, and brain fitness and health. The Forum was launched as part of a celebration of the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s signing of the landmark Community Mental Health Act of 1963.

Launch of the National Behavioral Health Platform: A Nonpartisan Approach to Mental Illness and Substance Abuse Disorders

2016

Since leaving Congress, Patrick and his team have been identifying and promoting programs and policies that make a real difference, but have not yet been fully adopted across the country. Through the platform, Patrick has created a roadmap for transforming America’s behavioral health system and moving toward his vision of a world where everyone who needs care gets it. Read more about Patrick's agenda

Championed Gun Reform Legislation

1989

Patrick was the primary sponsor of a bill that mandated a seven-day waiting period before purchasing firearms.

Elected to Congress

1994

Patrick was elected as a Democrat to represent the 1st Congressional District of Rhode Island. Patrick was the youngest member of Congress in 1995 and served on the House Armed Services Committee. He was re-elected seven times and served until January 3, 2011 when he left Congress to focus on a healthier lifestyle and start a family.

Becomes a Public Advocate for Mental Health Care Reform

2000

At an event with Tipper Gore, Patrick reveals in public for the first time that he suffered from depression and that he had been treated by a psychiatrist. This moment marks Patrick’s entrance as a leading public advocate for mental health and substance use disorder reform.

Patrick and Dr. David Satcher Begin Their Mental Health Advocacy Partnership

2001

Patrick and Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher held hearings in Providence, RI at the State House on children’s mental health. Dr. Satcher released the first Surgeon General’s Report on Mental Health in 1999 and continues to work with Patrick on increasing access to mental health care through the Kennedy Center for Mental Health Policy and Research housed within the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at the Morehouse School of Medicine.

Provided leadership to support the mental health of first responders.

2007

Patrick championed the Ready, Willing, and Able Act, which called on the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish a working group on the development of community-based disaster preparedness.

Passed Landmark Legislation to End Insurance Discrimination Against People Experiencing Mental Illness and Addiction

2008

Patrick built bipartisan support and led the passage of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, which was signed into law by President George W. Bush. The Parity Act requires insurance companies to cover of the brain, like bipolar disorder or alcohol use disorder, the same as diseases of the body, like cancer or heart disease. In addition to its powerful legal protections, the Federal Parity Law reduces the stigma surrounding behavioral health conditions.

Co-founded One Mind

2012

Together with Garen and Shari Staglin, Patrick started One Mind to help eliminate the stigma of brain disease and to lead the community in revolutionizing collaboration, research, and funding. By forming global partnerships within the governmental, corporate, scientific, and philanthropic communities, One Mind is accelerating large-scale research through “Open Science” data sharing and collaboration.

Release of the New York Times Bestseller, “A Common Struggle: A Personal Journey Through the Past and Future of Mental Illness and Addiction”

2015

In this intensely personal account, Patrick shared his recovery from bipolar disorder and addiction, reflected on the tendency to treat mental illness as a family secret, and provided a blueprint for the future of mental health policy in America.

1988

Elected to Rhode Island Legislature

1988

Patrick became the youngest member of the Kennedy family to hold public office when he won election to the Rhode Island House of Representatives at age 21 while a junior at Providence College.

Championed Gun Reform Legislation

1989

Patrick was the primary sponsor of a bill that mandated a seven-day waiting period before purchasing firearms.

Elected to Congress

1994

Patrick was elected as a Democrat to represent the 1st Congressional District of Rhode Island. Patrick was the youngest member of Congress in 1995 and served on the House Armed Services Committee. He was re-elected seven times and served until January 3, 2011 when he left Congress to focus on a healthier lifestyle and start a family.

Served as the Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee

1999

Patrick became the Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Patrick served as the Chairman until 2001.

Becomes a Public Advocate for Mental Health Care Reform

2000

At an event with Tipper Gore, Patrick reveals in public for the first time that he suffered from depression and that he had been treated by a psychiatrist. This moment marks Patrick’s entrance as a leading public advocate for mental health and substance use disorder reform.

Patrick and Dr. David Satcher Begin Their Mental Health Advocacy Partnership

2001

Patrick and Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher held hearings in Providence, RI at the State House on children’s mental health. Dr. Satcher released the first Surgeon General’s Report on Mental Health in 1999 and continues to work with Patrick on increasing access to mental health care through the Kennedy Center for Mental Health Policy and Research housed within the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at the Morehouse School of Medicine.

Begins Service on the Powerful Appropriations Committee

2001

Patrick joined the House Appropriations Committee where he served on two subcommittees: (1) Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies and (2) Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies. This is the influential panel that has authority over all of the federal government’s discretionary spending. While Patrick was appointed to the Appropriations Committee in 1998, he did not begin his position until after his tenure as Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Passed Monumental Legislation on Children’s Mental Health

2001

Patrick was the lead sponsor of the Foundations for Learning Act. This bill established a grant program to improve mental and emotional health for school children through screening and early intervention. The bill was incorporated into the No Child Left Behind law, which was signed into law by President George W. Bush on January 9, 2002.

Brought Awareness to Information Technology Through National Conference

2004

Patrick organized the first of several Frontiers of Healthcare conferences, which focused on transforming healthcare through information technology. Patrick was joined with then Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich at the conference.

Championed Law on the Prevention and Early Intervention of College Suicides

2004

Patrick was instrumental in the passage of the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act. This law increased access to mental health services for college students and expanded youth suicide prevention and early intervention.

Provided leadership to support the mental health of first responders.

2007

Patrick championed the Ready, Willing, and Able Act, which called on the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish a working group on the development of community-based disaster preparedness.

Passed Landmark Legislation to End Insurance Discrimination Against People Experiencing Mental Illness and Addiction

2008

Patrick built bipartisan support and led the passage of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, which was signed into law by President George W. Bush. The Parity Act requires insurance companies to cover diseases of the brain, like bipolar disorder or alcohol use disorder, the same as diseases of the body, like cancer or heart disease. In addition to its powerful legal protections, the Federal Parity Law reduces the stigma surrounding behavioral health conditions.

Championed legislation to expand the use of electronic health records

2010

Patrick introduced the Health Information Technology Extension for Behavioral Health Services Act to improve the diagnosis and treatment of mental health conditions and addictions by extending financial incentive eligibility to behavioral health providers for the use of electronic health records.

Marriage to Amy Savell

2011

Read Amy's bio

Co-founded One Mind

2012

Together with Garen and Shari Staglin, Patrick started One Mind to help eliminate the stigma of brain disease and to lead the community in revolutionizing collaboration, research, and funding. By forming global partnerships within the governmental, corporate, scientific, and philanthropic communities, One Mind is accelerating large-scale research through “Open Science” data sharing and collaboration.

Founded the Kennedy Forum

2013

Through the Kennedy Forum, Patrick advances an ambitious agenda to transform the way America views and treats mental health and addiction. The Forum pursues change through five key principles: payer accountability, provider accountability, integration and coordination, technology, and brain fitness and health. The Forum was launched as part of a celebration of the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s signing of the landmark Community Mental Health Act of 1963.

Release of the New York Times Bestseller, “A Common Struggle: A Personal Journey Through the Past and Future of Mental Illness and Addiction”

2015

In this intensely personal account, Patrick shared his recovery from bipolar disorder and addiction, reflected on the tendency to treat mental illness as a family secret, and provided a blueprint for the future of mental health policy in America.

Launch of the National Behavioral Health Platform: A Nonpartisan Approach to Mental Illness and Substance Abuse Disorders

2016

Since leaving Congress, Patrick and his team have been identifying and promoting programs and policies that make a real difference, but have not yet been fully adopted across the country. Through the platform, Patrick has created a roadmap for transforming America’s behavioral health system and moving toward his vision of a world where everyone who needs care gets it. Read more about Patrick's agenda