Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy on Why Leaders Struggle with Mental Health


I've spoken and written often about my struggle with depression and anxiety over the past 40 years, how it's affected me, my family, and my businesses. And we've spoken with other people over the past 15 years who have had the courage to fight a similar battle that's all too common among entrepreneurs and small business owners.

On this week's Small Business Radio Show, we remember that when President John F. Kennedy published his classic book, Profiles in Courage, he wanted to inspire “political courage” by telling the stories of courageous U.S. senators who changed America. In Profiles in Mental Health Courage, former Congressman Patrick Kennedy takes up his uncle's idea to highlight acts of “mental health courage” that happen in private: what people with mental illness and addiction must do to find help and treat their illnesses, and the risk they take by telling their stories in a country where there is inadequate mental health understanding, infrastructure and care. Patrick Kennedy was one of the leading voices on the issue of mental illness during his time in Congress. Shortly after the death of his father, Senator Ted Kennedy, he left Congress to devote himself to mental health advocacy.

We discussed the following:

Why is the book dedicated to “Those Who Still Suffer in Silence” – why are so many Americans still suffering in silence after all these years?

Patrick's own battle with bipolar disorder and addiction in 2015.

Why managers so often struggle with mental health problems.

How has your relationship with people changed since you announced this?

Why families play a crucial role in managing mental health.

Why do you encourage people who struggle with mental illness?

Why are physical and mental illnesses not considered the same thing medically?

When Simone Biles was at the Olympics and said she could not compete for mental health reasons, Patrick wrote in his book: “Everyone wanted to know why she couldn’t perform as they expected of her…”.

Listen to the full interview with Patrick on the Small Business Radio Show this week.