WASHINGTON--Former Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R-I.) visited Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) on Thursday at the Mayo Clinic--where Jackson is being treated for a bi-polar disorder--with photos released by Kennedy's office the first time Jackson has been seen since June.
Kennedy told the Associated Press after leaving the famed Rochester, Mn. clinic that "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."
The AP also reported that Kennedy suggested Jackson had an initial reluctance to receive help for his illness.
Kennedy told NBC News that his meeting with Jackson was "really emotional" and the congressman is "worried about his political future." Kennedy said "I tried to emphasize there is a future."
On Monday, the clinic said Jackson was diagnosed with Bipolar II depression.
Kennedy is no stranger to mental illness or to Mayo. He also suffered from bi-bipolar depression. Kennedy spent almost a month at Mayo in 2006 in treatment for his addiction to painkillers, after a car he was driving crashed near the Capitol.
Jackson and Kennedy served together in the House--and both have grown up under the shadow of famous fathers--the late Sen. Ted Kennedy and the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson.
Jackson has been absent from Congress since June 10--when he was brought to the George Washington Hospital Emergency Room here. After checking in to a Tucson facility, Jackson was transferred to Mayo at the end of July.
Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th) said in a statement, "My husband is grateful for his friendship. He and Jesse have a long history in Congress together."