Patrick Kennedy on mental health, politics, new baby

By John Krinjak

Email: jkrinjak@abc6.com

Twitter: @johnkrinjakABC6

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Former Rep. Patrick Kennedy joined Gov. Gina Raimondo at Thundermist Health Center in Woonsocket Friday to lay out a plan to improve access and lower costs for mental health treatment–and end the stigma around mental illness.

"What the governor did today is lay down the marker that here in Rhode Island there will be no tolerance for discrimination against people with mental illness and addiction," said Kennedy.
Kennedy says that’s especially important given the current opioid crisis–and in light of his own struggle with drug addiction.

"I’m thrilled that as a person in long-term recovery, I’m thrilled that here in Rhode Island we are building out the most extensive peer recovery support system in the nation, and we have real leaders here in the state," said Kennedy. 

I asked the former Congressman if seeing his old colleagues made him miss politics. "Of course. I’m around with all my old colleagues. It’s like getting the band back together again," said Kennedy. 

Asked whether he’s thought about making a return to politics, Kennedy said, "I have four kids and one more on the way so that issue is already decided. It won’t be for a long time before I even consider."

Kennedy and his wife broke good news Friday about the newest Kennedy–due Memorial Day weekend.

"I was hoping that if I could get her excited enough about being here in Rhode Island that she just might have that baby at Women and Infants, and whatever political future I would have at least it would be through my child who would be a natural born resident of this state," said Kennedy.

As for whether the baby is a boy or a girl, Kennedy says he and his wife want it to be a surprise.

Kennedy will be in Warwick Saturday night, where he’ll be inducted into the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame. 

© WLNE-TV / ABC6 2018