By KAREN VELIE
For the third time in less than three years, San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Adam Hill announced he is taking time off work to deal with mental health issues.
Hill announced in a press release on Monday that he plans to check into a residential mental health facility. Hill did not disclose when he plans to return to work, but said he hopes to “return soon.”
“Persistent, and at times, painfully debilitating depression, has necessitated my seeking more intensive and focused treatment at a residential health program,” Hill wrote. “While I have been working closely with county staff on the many challenging issues our community faces, I have not been able to recover and heal as sufficiently as needed, and chose to seek specialized care at this time.”
Hill’s statement follows public condemnation over his failure to perform his supervisor duties while collecting his full salary. Since March 1, Hill has not participated in 26 of the 33 board and committee meetings he was scheduled to attend.
“If he cared at all about this community he would step down,” Ginger Schenk wrote on Facebook. “This is such a critical time that we need our BOS representatives more than ever. How in the world are we allowing this? Enough is enough!”
In his latest press release, Hill writes about the need for compassion and understanding.
“Many people are suffering right now, and the way forward for all of us, ultimately, is to overcome polarizing and alienating tendencies that fuel suspicion, antagonism, and violence,” Hill wrote. “Our common humanity is injured badly by this, but renewed every time we show compassion and a willingness to understand and respect others.”
In a Feb. 9, 2018 letter to the Tribune, Hill first publicly disclosed his struggles with mental health issues, which he gave as a reason for his aggressive behaviors. In the letter, Hill also announced he would be taking some time off from his supervisor duties.
“I’ve struggled with depression nearly my entire life, a situation that for me, manifests itself in heightened states of anger and anguish,” Hill wrote in the letter to the Tribune.
Hill’s 2018 disclosure followed public outrage over an outburst at a constituent. Less than a month after losing the board chairmanship because of allegations of bullying and a lack of decorum, Hill sent a string of Facebook messages chastising a Pismo Beach man over a commentary in the Tribune before telling the man to “fuck off.”
Earlier this year, Hill took time off work following a suicide attempt and a FBI raid on his office and home. Hill attributed his suicide attempt to the stresses of running for office, in a statement released to the media on March 30,
“In the weeks leading up to Election Day, I fell into a bad episode of depression, culminating in an attempt to end my life,” Hill wrote. “I’ll have more to say later, but right now my main focus is on restoring my health so I can return to the job I love.”