Friday, August 24, 2012

Ward Room: Deadline Day is Friday for Jesse Jackson Jr.

Will he or won't he? Embattled Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. has until the end of the day Friday to decide whether he'll remain on the November ballot.
I'm not so sure he's just going to remove himself from the ballot in November. We do know that he's being treated at the Mayo Clinic for bipolar disorder. In whatever he chooses to do we do wish him well.

There's a Newsday article I found that discusses Congressman Jackson and the stigma of mental illness:
Now that he is suffering, he deserves our support and understanding. But I wish he and his staff and his family had been more forthright from the start about his illness. Instead, they were vague and secretive, which signaled they were aware of the still-powerful stigma of mental illness.

We need to put that stigma behind us.

Mental illness is something that affects most of us eventually -- either directly or through our families, friends and co-workers. Bipolar disease itself afflicts about 2 million Americans.

Jackson is fortunate in one way. As a member of Congress, he has decent insurance, which allows him to get the treatment he needs. The problem is most Americans, including the majority of those who have insurance, would not have the wherewithal to pay for good mental health care. Most insurance plans don't adequately cover mental illnesses. We need to change this.

When he is stronger, I hope that Jackson will help all of us understand and effectively deal with the problem of mental illness.

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