In spite of the news about his bipolar diagnosis and ongoing investigations into possible misuse of campaign funds and possible ethics violations, Jackson was re-elected two weeks ago with a solid 63 percent of the vote. A week after the election, however, he had returned to the Mayo Clinic where he had undergone some months of treatment.
The vote was seen by some as a victory in the war against stigma for those with mental illnesses. Still, Jackson's district is heavily Democratic, and others say he might have won by a greater margin if not for his illness.
Only time will tell what effect his resignation, coming on the heels of very strong re-election support, will have on public perception of politicians who are open about mental illnesses. It's always sad when bipolar disorder interrupts or ends a career, whether it's that of a public figure or an everyday Joe. Regardless of the outcome of the investigations, I salute Mr. Jackson for his past service and for acknowledging that improving his mental health is a priority. I wish him all the best as he continues his treatment.
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