STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE: Kennedy urges business lobby to get behind mental health agenda
As originally appearing in

BY COLIN A. YOUNG

Many people struggling with mental health issues “feel like they’re suffering on their own” and are too often diverted to the court system, Congressman Joseph Kennedy III told business leaders Tuesday, as he asked for their help in reforming mental health care.

Recounting the tale of a woman from Easton who had “fights with literally everyone” to get appropriate care for her daughter with a mental illness, Kennedy pushed for the business and civic circles of New England to help him pass reforms at the federal level.

“I need your help in this,” Kennedy said at a breakfast hosted by the New England Council at the Seaport Hotel. “You are more than this region’s business and civic leaders. You are leaders of this community.”

Kennedy said he will be pushing a series of proposals in the coming months, including increased Medicaid payments for mental health.

“The default safety net for mental health in this country has become the criminal justice system,” he said. Kennedy added, “This is a challenge we are all going to have to confront.”

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