About Patrick J.Kennedy

About PJK
Patrick Joseph Kennedy II was born on July 14, 1967, in Brighton, Mass., to Virginia Joan Kennedy and Senator Edward Moore Kennedy (D-Mass).  He is the youngest of three siblings and is named after his paternal great-grandfather.  He is a 1986 graduate of Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., and received his Bachelor of Science degree from Providence College in 1991.

Kennedy became the youngest member of his family to hold elected office when, in 1988, he won election to the Rhode Island House of Representatives at age 21.  After serving two terms in the House serving District 9 in Providence, Kennedy went on to serve 16 years in the U.S. House of Representatives representing Rhode Island’s First District.



During his time in Washington, D.C., Kennedy carved out a name for himself by authoring and co-sponsoring dozens of bills to increase understanding and treatment of neurological and psychiatric disorders, including the National Neurotechnology Initiative Act, the Genomics and Personalized Medicine Act, the COMBAT PTSD Act, and more.

Kennedy has openly discussed his struggles with depression and bipolar disorder for much of his life and in 2008, he brought his passion for mental health research and advocacy into the spotlight when he co-authored and was the lead sponsor of the Mental Health Parity & Addictions Equity Act.  This legislation, which was the largest that he and his father worked on together, provides tens of millions of Americans who were previously denied care with access to mental health treatment.

Life After Politics

Life After Politics
Shortly following his father’s death in 2010, he made the difficult decision to not seek re-election and thus ended the Kennedy legacy of having a presence in federal office.  However, Kennedy had his eyes on a larger, more personal goal.  It was in that year that he co-founded One Mind for Research, dedicated to dramatic enhancements in funding and collaboration in research across all brain disorders.
In addition to his work with One Mind for Research, he is launching the inaugural Kennedy Forum this October to unite the mental health community and mark the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s signing of the Community Mental Health Act.  Patrick’s mission with the Forum is to create a bold, ongoing effort to advance the work President Kennedy began in order to remove the stigma surrounding mental illness and to once and for all achieve parity by treating the brain the same way we treat the rest of the body.

He currently resides in Brigantine, New Jersey with his wife, sixth-grade history teacher Amy Kennedy.  There, they live with his step daughter Harper and their first son, Owen.  Patrick and Amy are expecting another child, to be born this November.