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Published August 16 2012

Kennedy says Jesse Jackson Jr. has long way to go in recovery from bipolar disorder

CHICAGO — U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. is in a “deep” depression and has “a lot of work” ahead of him on the road to recovery, former Rhode Island U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy said Thursday after visiting the hospitalized Chicago Democrat.

Jackson has been on a secretive medical leave since June 10, when family members said he collapsed at their home in Washington. He is currently being treated for bipolar disorder at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. But neither his office nor family members have said much about his medical condition.

The visit from Kennedy — who has suffered with bipolar disorder and been treated at Mayo — gave one of the first outside glimpses of Jackson's health.

“I don't think people understand the depth of his depression. It's deep. He has a lot of work to continue to do to be able to learn how to treat this illness in the most effective way possible,” Kennedy told The Associated Press. “Depression is a serious thing, and I'm glad that he's taking it seriously.”

Kennedy also suggested Jackson had an initial reluctance to receive help for his illness.