Austin City Council member Harper-Madison to take medical leave for 60 days

Austin City Council member Natasha Harper-Madison says she will be taking medical leave for the next two months.

Harper-Madison shared in a post on the Council message board that she would be taking medical leave starting Sept. 25 for 60 days.

"Service is in my heart, as I know it also is for all of you. This year has been extremely challenging for me. I live with depression and anxiety," said Harper-Madison in the post. "Thankfully these issues can be treated with focused care."

"I understand the importance of our work and the commitments we have made to our constituents, and I assure you that my decision to take this leave has not been made lightly," she added. "I have every intention of returning to my duties in good health with renewed energy and dedication to continuing to serve District 1 and the entire Austin community."


The District 1 council member said that her staff is "fully prepared" to ensure the office operates smoothly in her absence.

Other council members and Mayor Kirk Watson shared messages of support on the message board and social media.

"Be well. Thanks for your service and passion," said Mayor Watson on the message board. "My staff and I are here for you and our shared constituents. We're lifting you up."

District 2 council member Vanessa Fuentes posted on X, formerly Twitter, calling Harper-Madison's decision "truly inspiring".

"It takes tremendous courage to recognize when extra support is needed," Fuentes said. "I join our community in sending strength, unwavering support, and an abundance of positive energy."

"It takes tremendous strength to open up about one's struggles, and your willingness to do so is both admirable and inspiring," District 6 council member Mackenzie Kelly stated on the message board.

"Please know that your well-being is of paramount importance, and taking this step to prioritize your mental health is a wise and responsible decision," Kelly added. "We all understand the immense pressures and demands that come with public service, and it's crucial to take the time you need to address your depression and anxiety with focused care."