Monday, 30 July 2012
On Friday July 27, the Mayo Clinic released a statement announcing that Representative Jesse Jackson Jr., who has been absent from Washington since early June, is receiving treatment for depression and gastrointestinal issues at the clinic. “Further information will be released as Congressman Jackson’s evaluation proceeds,” the statement, which the clinic distributed on behalf of Mr. Jackson, said.
The statement from the clinic comes in the wake of a flurry of media speculation surrounding Mr. Jackson’s absence from Congress. As we talked about on our blog, the controversy around the announcement that Mr. Jackson was seeking treatment for a “mood disorder” raised questions and debates about what information public officials “owed” to their constituents regarding their mental health. However, with the release of this statement, and the now public knowledge that Mr. Jackson is suffering from depression, the media has been surprisingly respectful of Mr. Jackson, avoiding any questions of how his condition might influence his position. However, considering the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s estimate that as many as one in ten U.S. adults suffer from depression or depression symptoms, depression may be one of the few mental illnesses that has lost some its immediate stigma amongst public figures.
The Mayo Clinic’s statement also mentioned that Mr. Jackson is suffering from gastrointestinal issues. While depression can have many physical symptoms and side effects, there has been no word from the clinic about whether Mr. Jackson’s gastrointestinal symptoms are a side effect of depression or a separate condition. “The Mayo Clinic has a highly rated gastrointestinal department as well as a free-standing inpatient psychiatric unit,” said John Anderson of the Associates in Psychiatry and Psychology in southeastern Minnesota in an article on Capitol Hill Blue.
We wish Representative Jackson a speedy recovery in this difficult time and hope that he finds support and love in his family and friends.