AFSP a Patron Sponsor of the Kennedy Forum in Boston

AFSP National Board Chair, Nancy Farrell, and Boston AFSP Chapter volunteers, Rob Desmond, Chapter Outreach Volunteer; Kristin Fox, Chapter Board member; and Maureen Russell, Chapter Board member; along with AFSP National Vice President for Public Policy, John Madigan, and AFSP Eastern Area Director, Mel Varady; attended the Kennedy Forum National Conference, June 8 and 9, 2015.

For nearly two years, The Kennedy Forum has been advancing an ambitious agenda to transform the way we treat mental health and addiction. Patrick Kennedy is pursuing this much-needed change through payer accountability, provider accountability, integration and coordination, technology and brain fitness and health. This landscape, challenging, but full of opportunity, has been the focal point of the Kennedy Forum efforts. AFSP realizes that in order to achieve our goal of reducing suicide 20% by 2025, many more Americans will need access to quality mental health care services and programs where they live and work.

A broad and diverse group of speakers presented at Monday night’s dinner, including former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Martin Luther King III, and TV personality and comedian Wayne Brady.

Tuesday’s program included dozens of panelists, hundreds of voices, and eight in depth discussions, all with one common goal of sharing and communicating what is currently being done in the area of mental health, and what our nation has to do on alcohol and substance use disorder issues, too.

Topics included:

  • Building on Parity to Make Mental Health America’s Business: How Care for the Whole Person Can Improve Lives, Reduce Societal Costs, and Bring Greater Productivity
  • The Promise of Technology: Efficient Systems, Better Care, and Improved Outcomes
  • Giving Consumers What They Pay For: Quality and Outcomes
  • School and College Behavioral Health: How to Prevent and Respond to Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders on Campus and in Classrooms
  • Addiction in Our Communities: Addressing the Opioid Crisis and Other Substance Use Problems
  • Integration & Coordination: What it Really Means for the Healthcare System
  • Brain Fitness: How New Research is Revolutionizing Behavioral Health
  • The Parity Progress Report: Where are We Seven Years Later?
  • Mental Health on the Global Stage: Now is the Time to Act

Tuesday’s Speakers included Patrick Kennedy, former Congressman from Rhode Island and founder of the Kennedy Forum; Miami Judge Steve Leifman;  Bill Crounse, MD, Worldwide Health, Microsoft Corporation;  Mary Lou Sudders, MA Secretary of Health and Human Services; Victor Schwartz, MD, The Jed Foundation; Massachusetts Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy III; NIMH Director Tom Insel, MD; and former Surgeon General David Satcher, MD.

AFSP appreciated the opportunity to partner with the Kennedy Forum on this important conference.  We look forward to working with the Kennedy Forum on mental health and suicide prevention issues.  For more information on the Kennedy Forum, go to


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