25/02/2024

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Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo returns to work Monday following 2-month leave for clinical depression treatment out of state

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo returns to work Monday following 2-month leave for clinical depression treatment out of state

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) — Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo will return to work on Monday for the first time in two months after receiving mental health treatment.

Her return comes amid a call to remove her from office.

According to our news partners at the Houston Chronicle, five people filed a lawsuit petitioning for her removal.

The lawsuit claims she is unable to do her job because of health concerns.

SEE ALSO: Harris Co. Judge Lina Hidalgo announces return to office following leave for mental health treatment

“The petition is meritless and an absolute joke.” Brandon Marshall, Harris County Judge’s Office spokesperson, said.

The lawsuit was filed by David B. Wilson, Thomas Andrew Thrash, Melinda M. Morris, Thomas A. Bazan and Tommy B. Slocum Jr., the Chronicle said. Under state law, a petition to remove a county official can be filed by anyone who “lives and has lived for at least six months” in that county.

Hidalgo announced on Aug. 7 that she had checked herself into inpatient care at an out-of-state facility for treatment for clinical depression, prompting a temporary leave from office.

Commissioner Rodney Ellis has been presiding over official proceedings, including Commissioners Court, in her absence.

In an update on Sept. 14, Hidalgo’s team said she would be discharged from the care facility to transition from residential care to outpatient care before returning to work on Monday, Oct. 2.

ORIGINAL REPORT: Judge Lina Hidalgo announces temporary leave, checks into inpatient care for clinical depression

With the announcement about her return, Hidalgo released a letter to the people of Harris County, saying she is, “feeling a lot better”:

Dear People of Harris County:

Thank you to my colleagues, family, and the Harris County community for the outpouring of support that I received after I announced I was seeking inpatient mental health treatment for depression. I have been deeply touched by all the messages that I have received, not only from Harris County residents but from across the country. So many people wrote to me to share their own struggles with mental health and their support for my decision to be public about my journey. I am encouraged that so many in our community agree that treatment for mental illness should be normalized just as seeking treatment any illness is accepted and expected.

After my time in a fantastic inpatient facility, I am feeling a lot better. I am looking forward to being discharged this Saturday, September 16, 2023, starting outpatient care, and re-acclimatizing to life outside a mental health facility. My initial treatment plan had me returning to my regular schedule in September, but my discharge date was moved back, which moves back the re-acclimatization period. The way my doctors explained re-acclimatization to me is that you would not go from heart surgery straight to running a marathon, in the same way that they do not want me to go straight back to my usual schedule.
I am feeling great and looking forward to returning on Monday, October 2, 2023. Thanks to the incredible medical team that has cared for me over the past several weeks, I feel so much stronger than I have ever been.

I continue to maintain lines of communication with my staff and the Harris County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management remains fully prepared to respond to any potential incident, as well as request my presence if necessary.

I am grateful for your continued support. I look forward to sharing more about my experience, and most of all, I am eager to return to the community and the job that I love.

Sincerely,

Lina Hidalgo
Harris County Judge