The Medical Alley Association plans to shine a spotlight on mental health in April, featuring two prominent voices on mental health care in a “fireside” chat during the group’s annual meeting in Minneapolis.
The trade group for Minnesota’s cluster of more than 1,000 health care companies announced Monday that Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps and former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy will join association CEO Shaye Mandle on stage at the April 29 event to talk about ending stigmas and addressing mental illness.
“The Medical Alley Association is committed to promoting mental health care, raising awareness of new ways to nurture mental resilience, and amplifying the voices of those that are passionate about improving mental health for everyone,” Mandle said in Monday’s announcement.
Phelps, 34, holds the world record for the most Olympic medals, having earned 28 medals in individual and team swimming events since competing in his first Olympics at the age of 15. He retired after the 2016 Games, and in 2018 revealed his longtime struggle with depression, addiction and thoughts of suicide.
At an event organized by the Kennedy Forum in January 2018, Phelps said he fell into a major depressive states after the 2004 Olympics, and after each Olympic Games he competed in after that. He founded the Michael Phelps Foundation in 2008, and today the charity serves dual goals of promoting water safety and emotional health among children and young athletes.
The Kennedy Forum was founded by former Rhode Island representative Patrick Kennedy in 2013 with a mission to raise the profile of mental health care in the United States. The group aims to eliminate stigmas around mental illness and spread awareness about consumers’ right to receive mental health care under the 2008 federal mental health law known as the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008.