Patrick J. Kennedy to Headline David Lawrence Center Sound Minds™ Luncheon

Event to Explore His Personal and Political Journey with Mental Illness and Addiction

Naples, Fl – David Lawrence Center, Collier County’s only comprehensive, not-for-profit mental health and addiction recovery treatment center serving children, adults and families, is pleased to announce that former Congressman and mental health advocate Patrick J. Kennedy will headline their signature fundraiser, Sound Minds™, on April 3, 2020 at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples (2600 Tiburon Dr, Naples) from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

For the past six years, David Lawrence Center has hosted the Sound Minds™ Mental Health Symposium. Past speakers have included a Columbine shooting survivor, a mood disorder expert, as well as national scientists and local mental health advocates. This year, David Lawrence Center changed the event format, turning the symposium into a fundraising luncheon. The new format which includes a new week date and location, is being chaired by Kate and Rob Edwards and will provide enhanced fundraising opportunities to raise much-needed support for the increased demand for the Center’s life-saving services.

Since leaving Congress, Kennedy has dedicated his professional life to advocating for those with mental health and substance use disorders and ensuring that illnesses of the brain, such as depression and addiction, are treated on par with illnesses of the body, such as cancer and diabetes. 

Kennedy, best known as the lead author of the groundbreaking Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (Federal Parity Law), will share stories and insights from his political and personal journey with mental illness and addiction. 

“Almost every family in the US is affected by mental illness or addiction,” said Kennedy. “My challenge as a policymaker was the same challenge I personally faced as a patient—how to be comfortable seeking help if the nature of the illness is seen as a moral failing, as a character flaw, or as shameful.”

Kennedy will discuss the unique pressures of growing up in one of America’s most famous families and explore the Kennedy legacy in the arenas of civil rights, mental health, and equality for those with intellectual disabilities.

Immediately following the luncheon will be a VIP Meet the Speaker reception, where sponsors and VIP ticket holders will have an intimate opportunity to meet Mr. Kennedy.

“We feel blessed to have Patrick Kennedy coming to our community to share his personal and professional insights about mental health and substance use,” said Scott Burgess, CEO of David Lawrence Center. “Having had the pleasure of hearing him speak nationally on multiple occasions, his subject matter expertise and passion are unparalleled. Patrick is continuing the long legacy of the Kennedy family’s leadership on these vital issues. As one of the foremost leaders and change-agents dedicated to enhancing and expanding mental health and substance use disorder treatment in this country, his presentation is not one to be missed.”

Tickets and Information

Tickets to the luncheon are $275 per person, and VIP tickets are $500 per person. A variety of sponsorship opportunities are also available. CEUs will be provided to Florida state licensed nurses and clinicians (LMHC, LCSW, and LMFT). For more information, visit or contact David Lawrence Center at 239-354-1445 or

About Patrick J. Kennedy

Patrick J. Kennedy, the youngest son of the late, former Senator, Ted Kennedy, founded The Kennedy Forum in 2013 after serving eight terms in the House of Representatives from Rhode Island’s First Congressional District. During his time in Congress, he authored and co-sponsored dozens of bills designed to increase the understanding and treatment of neurological and psychiatric disorders.

Kennedy is the co-founder of One Mind, a nonprofit that elevates brain research through global investment and open science while convening the best minds to accelerate cures for brain diseases, and co-chair of Mental Health for US, a nonpartisan, educational coalition created to elevate mental health and addiction in policy conversations during the 2020 election cycle. In 2015, he co-authored his New York Times bestselling memoir A Common Struggle: A Personal Journey Through the Past and Future of Mental Illness and Addiction. In 2017, he served on the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis.

About David Lawrence Center

Southwest Florida nonprofit David Lawrence Center is a national leader in providing world-class mental health and addiction recovery solutions for children, adolescents and adults. The Center’s innovative, integrated treatment includes inpatient, outpatient, residential, and community-based services – a comprehensive system of care funded by community and government support. Each year, David Lawrence Center creates life-changing wellness for more than 9,800 people through over 276,000 treatment sessions. To learn more, please call 239-455-8500 or visit

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