DALLAS (CN) - Dallas County District Attorney Susan Hawk has left a Houston psychiatric hospital but has yet to return to work after a second stint of depression treatment, her office said Tuesday.
It said Hawk "has not been cleared to return" to work by her doctors.
"She will remain under the advisement of her doctors as they work to develop a treatment plan and set a return date," the office said in a statement.
Hawk's office said in May that "relapse is common" for the millions of Americans who suffer from major depressive disorder. It did not explicitly state that Hawk was seeking mental health treatment, but said she "is taking the necessary steps" for her to continue to serve.
More than 15 million Americans, about 6.7 percent of the adult population, suffer from persistent depressive disorder, a depression that lasts for at least two weeks, the National Institute of Mental Health reported in 2014.
A 1999 study reported in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that anxiety disorders of all types cost the United States more than $42 billion a year — then 28 percent of the nation's total $148 billion bill for mental health.
Hawk first disappeared from work last summer for two months, eventually saying she was seeking treatment for a "serious episode of depression" and describing her absence as a "summer break." Both absences led to calls for Hawk to resign.
When Hawk returned to work in October, she spoke publicly and in detail about her struggles. She appeared at town hall meetings and second-chaired in a murder trial to show she was still meeting the challenges of her job.
Within days of her return, Hawk was sued by a former prosecutor who sought to oust her from office. Cindy Stormer said that Hawk's absence, several firings of longtime staffers and her allegedly erratic and paranoid behavior indicated a "complete break with reality." A judge dismissed the lawsuit three months later.
Stormer claimed that Hawk's former second-in-command Bill Wirskye was fired after being accused of breaking into Hawk's home and stealing a "blow job shot" photograph. He said Hawk's paranoia paralyzed the office, according an affidavit filed in the case.
"Her tone was both bizarre and aggressive," Wirskye's affidavit stated. "When I asked her what she was talking about, she accused me of calling her mother and harassing her, breaking into her parent's garage, and breaking into her house and stealing a photo of her. (These accusations were all untrue.) It was apparent to me that Ms. Hawk was completely delusional and detached from reality."
Wirskye said he was fired in March 2015 and that upon leaving the courthouse, he told Hawk's political adviser that she needed to be placed "immediately" in in-patient treatment.
In November, Hawk announced an initiative to divert first-time nonviolent offenders who are young or mentally ill away from prison.
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