Dallas D.A. Susan Hawk returns to Houston clinic after relapse

Dallas County District Attorney Susan Hawk has returned to a Houston clinic after she relapsed in her battle with depression.

The district attorney's office released a statement saying Hawk "has publicly battled and continues to battle this disorder. A relapse is common." They also said Hawk is getting the help she needs so that she can continue to serve the community.

Hawk voluntarily sought treatment on Friday at the Menninger Clinic in Houston.

Hawk didn’t show up Friday morning at a National Alliance of Mental Illness symposium at the Dallas Public Library. She was supposed to speak on the stigma of mental illness, but organizers said her office canceled for her at the last minute.

“Unfortunately Susan Hawk was ill today so she was not able to make it. But we really celebrate her willingness to be open and public about her personal mental health issues. For a while there it really wasn’t up to her. The media really shed light on her… on her mental health crisis. But she is strong. She is brave. She’s recovering. We wish her well. We hope she feels better soon,” said Jasmine Kallenberg with the Dallas Public Library.

That’s just one of several appearances canceled for Hawk this week.

Andrea Wise-Brown is in private practice and not treating Susan Hawk. She has worked with Arlington police and Tarrant County MHMR, a mental health services organization.

“I don’t know her but speaking generally, there is usually some kind of stressor that can kind of set you off,” she explained.

Wise-Brown says getting back on track can require a change in medication, additional counseling, and in some cases, in-house treatment.

“You can be highly functioning. There are many people in our society, I mean millions, who are diagnosed with a mental illness,” said West-Brown. “We're talking about major depressive disorder who are functioning well.”

The first female DA in Dallas recently recovered from a very public mental health crisis. She now uses her experiences to provide a voice for mental health awareness.

In the middle of it all, Hawk had to fight to keep her elected seat. A former employee sued to have her removed from office, calling her mentally incompetent to serve in the capacity of the DA.

Hawk also sought treatment at the same Houston clinic for several weeks in 2015.