Austin City Council member says she's taking medical leave for mental health

Austin City Council District 1 Natasha Harper-Madison
Photo credit City of Austin

AUSTIN ( -- Austin City Council Natasha Harper-Madison said Monday she'll be stepping away from city hall for the next 60 days in order to focus on her mental health.

"Starting Monday, September 25, I will be taking medical leave for 60 days," Harper-Madison wrote in a post on the City Council message board. "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."

Harper-Madison is in the middle of her second term serving District 1, after being first elected in 2018. She previously served as mayor pro tem in 2020.

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

During Harper-Madison's time away from the dais, her staff will continue to handle constituent matters in the District 1 office, with assistance from the City Manager's office and other city staffers.

"Our Chief of Staff Sharon Mays will manage ongoing projects and lead our team through this challenge," Harper-Madison wrote. "I’m thankful to the office of the City Manager and other City staff for the offers to support my team while I am away."

Featured Image Photo Credit: City of Austin