Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Mental health isn't the issue - stigma is

Mark Dayton at his campaign headquarters in downtown Minneapolis.

Many politicians have overcome admissions of addiction or depression, thanks to better understanding of the manageable diseases. Can Dayton, too?

There was a time when the public admission of mental illness could derail a candidate's political career.

That could still happen to Mark Dayton, the Democratic candidate for governor who went public this week with his history of depression. But if so, experts say, it's the stigma -- not the disease itself -- that would sabotage his run for office.

Today, more than a decade into Prozac Nation, there is no reason why someone being treated for mild to moderate depression shouldn't hold a job with enormous responsibility, doctors say. Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill both suffered from depression, they say, and that was long before Prozac and even more effective medications that are available now.

READ MOE @ Minneapolis Star Tribune