Thursday marks one year since Dallas County District Attorney Susan Hawk first started in-patient care in Houston for depression. Since then, she’s been out and back in for more treatment twice.
Over the past 18 months, the district attorney has been battling with major depressive disorder, keeping her from work. But can she get back to work? Supporters say yes. But others are not so sure.
When Hawk went back into treatment on May 20 in Houston, psychologist Andrea Wise-Brown, not involved in Hawk’s healthcare, felt she could quickly get back to center.
“I’m concerned now because usually when someone goes away for treatment with major depressive disorder, once they have intensive therapy med management and a good rest for a short period of time, two weeks to maybe two months, they are able to live out in the community independently and be successful in the work place,” Wise-Brown said.
Shortly after her treatment in Houston, she checked into the Sierra Tucson Clinic in Arizona in June and has been there since.
Sierra Tucson is considered one of the premier treatment facilities for people battling addiction and complex behavioral health disorders.
“Maybe the diagnosis isn't the diagnosis that we know,” said Wise-Brown. “It could be something else.”
Dan Hagood and Charla Aldous defended Hawk in the court challenge to put her out of office after a previous rehab stint and are friends with the DA.
“Reports I get is that she is doing very well,” said Hagood. “She’s getting a lot better.”
“If Susan had cancer and had a recurrence of cancer and went to get treatment, I think everyone would be totally supportive,” said Aldous. “Mental health is a disease. She has admitted and told the world that she had a disease, and she's getting help to treat that disease. And I think she should be applauded for it.”
Attorney Deandra Grant was a big supporter of Hawk and raised thousands of dollars to help her get elected. But now, Grant says there is too much uncertainty surrounding Hawk and believes she needs to step down.
“I think that we are past the time where Susan needs to resign,” Grant said. “If you're incapacitated in any manner and you're elected to public office, it is incumbent on you to leave that office. The office is bigger than you.”
“There’s no reason I know of nor do I believe that she cannot come back and function again at that high level,” said Hagood.
But Wise-Brown disagrees with Hagood.
“I think she can return to work,” Wise-Brown said. “But I’m unsure if this is the work that she could return to.”
"Right now, what we're watching is to see if the rumors that she's gonna resign after the fifteenth or so turn out to be true,” said Grant. “Which would allow Governor Abbott an opportunity to appoint a replacement to finish out her term.”
If Hawk leaves for medical reasons before the middle of August, a complicated special election would take place with precinct chairpersons selecting candidates.