The time is always right to amplify the conversation on mental health.
That’s why Quartet CEO David Wennberg, MD, MPH, and board member and former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy recently appeared on A Healthy Dose, the podcast series that digs into important issues, trends, and innovations in healthcare.
Wennberg and Kennedy joined co-hosts Trevor Price and Steve Kraus on May 1, the first day of Mental Health Awareness Month, to discuss their work to ensure that one day every person with a mental health condition gets the care they need.
From discussing their familial roots in healthcare and politics, to talking about their respective beliefs on stigma, to explaining the benefits of integrating mental health into primary care, Wennberg and Kennedy are clear on one thing: mental health is health, and our system needs to treat it as such.
Here’s a preview of Wennberg and Kennedy discussing their families’ impact on their work to advance mental health care.
David Wennberg [on his father, legendary health care researcher Jack Wennberg, MD, MPH]
What’s been really fun is taking the tenets of the work he’s done in variations in health care, with population stratification and outcomes, and quality and long term survival, and then translating that into a business model. First with Health Dialog, which we did a lot of work with shared decision making. Now here at Quartet where the focus is on improving the lives of patients with mental health conditions.
So let me say, I never pictured myself or imagined that I would be an advocate. It’s the last thing I wanted to do. I did not want, nor did I feel comfortable with speaking to this issue that was all around me when I was growing up. My dad suffered, my mom suffered terribly, and other family members did. We were all taught to keep quiet…
When President Kennedy was killed, it was awful. When Bobby was killed it was catastrophic. Especially on top of President Kennedy being killed. So, the press knew, everybody knew. If you look up post-traumatic stress disorder today and wanted to see a picture of someone who qualified for it, my father would be exhibit A. Yet, back then, because no one talked about it, he just kind of went on his way and that is really, really sad. It’s all because we didn’t have this idea that there’s nothing shameful if you’ve been through what he went through, to get the help that he needed to get.
A big part of helping ensure people with mental health conditions get the right care at the right time lies in being able to talk about mental health like any other health condition.