The eastern Oklahoma Senate seat debate among Republican candidates has drawn attention after one candidate attacked another several years ago for seeking professional help with depression.
At the Delaware County GOP’s State Senate District 4 Candidates Forum over the weekend, candidate Tom Woods said his opponent, Hogan Upson, was not “mentally competent” enough for the position he’s running for because he previously Have sought professional treatment for depression.
“I hope his comments don’t deter anyone trying to get help when they need it,” Upson told FOX23.”We need to fight the stigma surrounding mental health treatment. People need to know the help is out there and there’s no shame in asking for it.”
The more than hour-long debate was between four people hoping to secure the Republican nomination to the general election, but the public is focusing on personal attacks during the forum’s 52 minutes.
“Hogan wants to talk about the sanctity of life in the womb, but when it comes to suicide, what about the sanctity of life?” Woods said during the debate.”You’ve been to a mental hospital twice. You’ve been to Grand Lake in September 2019 and March 2017. So how did you have the mental capacity to withstand the stress of this job?
FOX23 News received a video statement from Woods and his campaign saying he had and still has legitimate concerns that Apperson is not ready to serve as he continues to seek ongoing for depression.
Woods called the distraction of his opponent’s mental state a distraction, trying not to talk about the serious concerns the public should have about his opponent.
Woods, who pointed to two family members with mental health issues, one of whom needed 24/7 care, said he was concerned that Upson would relapse while he was in the office, which would cause him to return to therapy rather than being able to perform what he was looking for. job responsibilities.
“No one understands mental illness and the stress of caring for a loved one better than I do,” Woods told FOX23.”I sincerely hope Hogan gets treatment, but it’s not a mental health issue. It’s a matter of his ability to serve the public today.”
Upson said he believed Woods was given a specific date when he sought treatment at a local mental health facility, which may have violated his HIPPA rights, but said the District 4 campaign was about the job, not the personal attack .
“We’ve seen all the job growth in our region happening across the state line in Arkansas,” Upson said.”We need someone to fight for our economic growth. We’re being left behind and that’s what I want to focus on.”
Upson said he was not ashamed to seek treatment for his depression, which he said strengthened his faith in God and gave him hope for a long life.He and his wife are now pregnant too.
“It was a small blow,” he said.”I just hope it doesn’t scare off anyone in need. There’s nothing to be ashamed of, it’s manageable and overcome.”
Post time: Jun-08-2022