US Representative Patrick Kennedy Describes his Struggle to Overcome Depression, Bipolar Disorder, and Mental Health Stigma in new Book by Graeme Cowan

Oakland, California (EastBayDaily) — “My uncle, President John F. Kennedy, was the first president to address civil rights as a moral cause. I feel the same passion to eliminate stigma associated with mental illness,” explains former U.S. congressman Patrick Kennedy in a book released this month by New Harbinger Publications. Back from the Brink: True Stories and Practical Help for Overcoming Depression and Bipolar Disorder, written by respected author and mental health advocate Graeme Cowan, brings readers on a personal journey of hope, resilience, and strength that resonates deeply whether you suffer from depression yourself or know someone who does.

In this brand-new collection of interviews, Patrick Kennedy confides in Cowan, telling new parts of his story for the first time. Despite having caring parents and a supportive, close-knit home life, the Kennedy family struggled for years with mental health issues. Kennedy reveals that while his mother suffered from alcoholism and bouts of extreme depression, his father, the late senator Ted Kennedy, “clearly suffered profound post-traumatic stress” following the assassinations of his brothers, President John F. Kennedy and Senator Robert F. Kennedy. Patrick himself faced addiction and bipolar disorder. His constant crying at age 13, escalation to cocaine and alcohol abuse by 15, and hospitalization for dependence at 17 marked his descent into a deep depression. Kennedy has harnessed the knowledge and strength to turn his life around, and shares that wisdom with readers today.

Back from the Brink includes courageous interviews from other notable contributors, including talk show host Trisha Goddard; Alastair Campbell, chief adviser to former prime minister Tony Blair; former Google executive Bob Boorstin; mental health advocate Jennifer Hentz Moyer; Davis Cup champion Cliff Richey, and others.

As highlighted in the foreword by actress Glenn Close, “being able to talk freely about our challenges and triumphs is the first step towards healing.” In a nation where nearly 19 million people will suffer from depression in any given year, that first step back from the brink is a critical one. Lauded as “a brave book” that “provides real hope and practical help” by Prime Minister Tony Blair, Back from the Brink will help readers and their loved ones make that first step.

Based in both extensive research and his own personal experiences, Cowan’s message resonates deeply with his audience. Candidly and courageously integrating his own journey, Cowan describes putting pen to paper on July 24, 2004, writing his final goodbyes to his family and friends: “I just can’t be a burden any longer”. After facing a 20-year battle with depression that encompassed multiple suicide attempts and 23 types of medication, Cowan was at a suicidal brink.

Dedicated to sharing his story and helping others suffering from depression and bipolar disorder, Cowan releases Back from the Brink in the United States following his successful Australian editions.

Praise for Back from the Brink

Cindy Specht, Executive Vice President of the Chicago based Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance says, “This book is a gift.”

Michael Fitzpatrick, former Executive Director of NAMI, describes it as “an extraordinary collection of interviews that sends the message, ‘You are not alone’.”

Back from the Brink: True Stories and Practical Help for Overcoming Depression & Bipolar Disorder (New Harbinger Publications, 2014) by Graeme Cowan ISBN: 9781608828562

Available for Interview: Graeme Cowan, Patrick Kennedy, and Trisha Goddard

About Graeme Cowan Despite spending most of his career as a senior executive in Sydney, Australia with organizations like Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and AT Kearney, Graeme had struggled with depression for more than 20 years . Four suicide attempts and a number of tough decisions later, Graeme reemerged with not just a best-selling Australian book series to his name but a new attitude towards the way individuals approach recovery. Back from the Brink also features the results of asking 4,064 people with depression or bipolar “what works for you?”

He is also the author of the report “The Elephant in the Boardroom: Getting Mentally Fit for Work”, which highlights that 86% of people with a mood disorder in the workplace would rather suffer in silence than discuss their illnesses with colleagues. Cowan is one of Australia's leading speakers and authors in the area of building resilience and mental health, and has appeared regularly on national Australian television and radio and had articles written in The Australian Financial Review on workplace health. He is also a Director of the R U OK? Foundation, whose slogan is “A Conversation Could Change a Life” (, and was supported in its launch campaign with video promotions from Australian Actors Hugh Jackman, Simon Baker and Naomi Watts. Cowan is passionate about sharing his journey and helping others to find hope, know they are not alone, and find a way back from the brink.


Bevin Donahue


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