Richard Bernstein back on Michigan State Court bench after depression treatment
- Michigan Supreme Court Justice Richard Bernstein returns to the bench after a month-long mental health treatment
- Bernstein reveals Tuesday he was struggling with ‘situational depression’
- The justice worked on cases remotely but missed six oral arguments scheduled for mid-May
LANSING — Michigan Supreme Court Justice Richard Bernstein is returning to the bench in person this week after a month-long mental health treatment for depression.
Bernstein announced the short-term mental health treatment in April but did not offer specifics on his condition or treatment.
In a Tuesday statement, Bernstein revealed he was struggling with “situational depression,” a type of short-term depression often caused by a traumatic event.
“It is my sincere hope that by talking about these issues in the open, free from any needless stigma, we can move closer to a day when anyone struggling can avail themselves of the same quality care I was blessed to receive,” he said Tuesday.
“Serving on the Michigan Supreme Court is the honor of my life, and I am humbled each day by the opportunity to serve with colleagues committed to upholding the rule of law. I want to thank them for the grace, patience, and compassion they have each shown me these past several weeks, and I look forward to our continued service together.”
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In April, Bernstein said he would work remotely to review active Supreme Court cases while receiving the treatment.
His absence from the bench caused him to miss six in-person arguments scheduled for May 10, state Supreme Court spokesperson John Nevin told Bridge Michigan.
Bernstein’s public statement about depression marks a rare move by elected officials to acknowledge their mental health challenges. U.S. Sen. John Fetterman, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, announced a 44-day leave in mid-February to receive treatment for severe depression.
Bernstein is a Democratic Party nominee who was first elected to the bench in 2014. He was re-elected in November for a second eight-year term.
The 48-year-old is a former member of the Wayne State University Board of Governors and was a disability-rights attorney at his family’s Farmington Hills law firm. He is the first blind justice elected to the state’s high court.
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