Patrick Kennedy: Mental Health Is A 'Personal' Issue For Everyone

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Some of the biggest names in the field of mental health are gathering in Boston Monday to unveil a 10-year plan for research and development in the field of neuroscience. The goal at the Next Frontier Conference is to better understand conditions such as autism, Alzheimer's disease, or post-traumatic stress disorder.

The director of the National Institutes of Health will be there, as well as the head of the Food and Drug Administration. Vice President Joe Biden will deliver the keynote address.

The project is co-chaired by former Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy, who describes it as a "moonshot to the mind." That's a reference to President John F. Kennedy's challenge to the nation, 50 years ago this week, to send a man to the moon.

"I have family members, like every family in America, that have people who are being held hostage, not simply by their disease, but by the stigma that is related to those diseases," Kennedy told WBUR.

"What we'd like to try to do is bring all the diversity of advocacy — whether it's Autism Speaks or Alzheimer's Foundation, or any of the groups that advocate for brain research — to be united behind the mission that the brain is common to all of us. So we should be thinking more on the brain and how to unlock the mysteries of the mind, as opposed to each trying to think individually for our specific disease group."


This program aired on May 23, 2011.

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Bob Oakes Senior Correspondent
Bob Oakes was a senior correspondent in the WBUR newsroom, a role he took on in 2021 after nearly three decades hosting WBUR's Morning Edition.



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