Harris Co. Judge Lina Hidalgo announces return to office following leave for mental health treatment

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Thursday, September 14, 2023
Harris Co. judge announces return after mental health treatment
Hidalgo announced on Aug. 7 that she had checked herself into inpatient care at an out-of-state facility for treatment for clinical depression, prompting a temporary leave from off

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- After announcing a leave of absence at the beginning of August, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo will resume her usual schedule in October, her office said on Thursday.

Hidalgo announced on Aug. 7 that she had checked herself into inpatient care at an out-of-state facility for treatment for clinical depression, prompting a temporary leave from office.

Commissioner Rodney Ellis has been presiding over official proceedings, including Commissioners Court, in her absence.

ORIGINAL REPORT: Judge Lina Hidalgo announces temporary leave, checks into inpatient care for clinical depression

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced her temporary leave from office after being checked into inpatient care for clinical depression.

In an update Thursday, Hidalgo's team said she will be discharged from the care facility this Saturday, Sept. 16, to transition from residential care to outpatient care. Then, Hidalgo will return to work on Monday, Oct. 2.

Hidalgo returns in time for next week's Harris Co. budget vote.

It'll have a significant impact on your property taxes, as well as services like law enforcement patrols and public health.

Commissioners aren't looking at any huge cuts or increases this year, but the $2.4 billion proposed budget does include raises for some employees and additional funding for county courts.

Part of the goal this year is to restore funding that was lost last year.

READ MORE: Judge Lina Hidalgo expected to return in time for Harris Co. budget vote

Harris County Commissioners discussed a new budget coming next week that could affect property taxes, law enforcement services, and public health.

With the announcement about her return, Hidalgo released a letter to the people of Harris County, saying she is, "feeling a lot better":

Dear People of Harris County:

Thank you to my colleagues, family, and the Harris County community for the outpouring of support that I received after I announced I was seeking inpatient mental health treatment for depression. I have been deeply touched by all the messages that I have received, not only from Harris County residents but from across the country. So many people wrote to me to share their own struggles with mental health and their support for my decision to be public about my journey. I am encouraged that so many in our community agree that treatment for mental illness should be normalized just as seeking treatment any illness is accepted and expected.

After my time in a fantastic inpatient facility, I am feeling a lot better. I am looking forward to being discharged this Saturday, September 16, 2023, starting outpatient care, and re-acclimatizing to life outside a mental health facility. My initial treatment plan had me returning to my regular schedule in September, but my discharge date was moved back, which moves back the re-acclimatization period. The way my doctors explained re-acclimatization to me is that you would not go from heart surgery straight to running a marathon, in the same way that they do not want me to go straight back to my usual schedule.

I am feeling great and looking forward to returning on Monday, October 2, 2023. Thanks to the incredible medical team that has cared for me over the past several weeks, I feel so much stronger than I have ever been.

I continue to maintain lines of communication with my staff and the Harris County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management remains fully prepared to respond to any potential incident, as well as request my presence if necessary.

I am grateful for your continued support. I look forward to sharing more about my experience, and most of all, I am eager to return to the community and the job that I love.


Lina Hidalgo
Harris County Judge