Former Rep. Patrick Kennedy, Sen. Ted Kennedy's youngest child, digs deep into his long history of mental illness and addiction in a new memoir, "A Common Struggle." It is a story other family members did not want him to tell.
While his brother, Ted Kennedy Jr., acknowledged Kennedy's work in bringing mental health into the national conversation, he said in a statement: "I am heartbroken that Patrick has chosen to write what is an inaccurate and unfair portrayal of our family. My brother's recollections of family events and particularly our parents are quite different from my own."
"So I told this story about my life, which I can't separate from my family's life because it's important that we -- all of us -- break the silence and the shame surrounding these issues," Patrick Kennedy said Monday on "CBS This Morning," addressing the criticism. "Now I don't pretend that it's going to be easy, and as you've seen, it definitely provokes a reaction. And that's what most people are fearful of when they speak out. It's they're worried about breaking the family code. They're worried about being disloyal. And nobody wants to be that."
Kennedy defended his portrayal of his father, calling him very loving.
"Frankly, talking about his challenges does not take away from the fact that he was the greatest United States senator in modern history. ... So the notion that I am somehow at all challenging his place in history is so far-fetched. But I can understand personally, it can be difficult to hear these things. It was difficult for me to write these things," Kennedy said.
His father was not happy with him when Kennedy first shared his personal story during the time he was advocating for the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, he said.
"Then when we were passing the Mental Health Parity Bill, he came over to the House floor, tapped me on the leg and said, 'Patrick keep going. You're doing something important,'" Kennedy said. "This is after he excoriated me for talking 'about family issues' that I shouldn't have been talking about. And yet at the end, he helped me pass this Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act."