September 11, 2020

BALA CYNWYD, PA – Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy (BI) announced today that former U.S. Representative Patrick J. Kennedy is the recipient of the 2020 Beck Institute Excellence Award. This award was created to recognize individuals, organizations, and initiatives that improve lives worldwide through the advancement of evidence-based practice in the field of mental health.  

During his time in Congress, Kennedy was the lead author of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, which requires insurers to cover treatment for mental health and substance use disorders no more restrictively than treatment for illnesses of the body, such as diabetes and cancer. In 2013, he founded The Kennedy Forum, a nonprofit that unites mental health advocates, business leaders, and government agencies to advance evidence-based practices, policies, and programming in mental health and addiction. Kennedy co-authored the New York Times Bestseller, A Common Struggle: A Personal Journey Through the Past and Future of Mental Illness and Addiction, which details a bold plan for the future of mental health care in America. In 2017, he was appointed to the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. 

Kennedy is also the co-founder of One Mind, an organization that pushes for greater global investment in brain research; co-chair of Mental Health for US, a nonpartisan initiative designed to elevate mental health and addiction in policy conversations during the 2020 election cycle; and co-chair of the Action Alliance’s Mental Health & Suicide Prevention National Response to COVID-19. 

“We are thrilled to have this opportunity to recognize Mr. Kennedy for his important work in increasing access to evidence-based therapy,” said Judith S. Beck, PhD, President of Beck Institute. “As most of us who work in the field of mental health are painfully aware, it is not enough to develop effective treatments for disorders; a great deal of work must be done through advocacy and policy change to ensure that those treatments are available and accessible to those who need them. With this award, my father, Aaron T. Beck, MD, and I wish to acknowledge Mr. Kennedy’s immeasurable impact in this area.” 

Kennedy will accept the award on October 23, 2020 at a virtual award ceremony, where he will participate in a panel discussion called “Understanding the Growing Mental Health Crisis: A Conversation about Access, Advocacy, and Parity with other leaders and stakeholders working to bring effective mental health treatment to under resourced individuals and communities. Tickets to the event, which are available on a pay-what-you-can basis, can be purchased at Proceeds will fund professional training for clinicians treating primarily minority clients, active duty and veteran military service members, and individuals diagnosed with a serious mental health condition.