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First pictures of Jesse Jackson Jr. released since leave

In this Thursday Aug. 16 2012 phoprovided by office former U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy Kennedy left meets with U.S.

In this Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012 photo provided by the office of former U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, Kennedy, left, meets with U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Jackson is in a "deep" depression and has "a lot of work" ahead of him on the road to recovery, Kennedy said Thursday after visiting the hospitalized Chicago Democrat. (AP Photo/Office of Patrick J. Kennedy)

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Updated: September 18, 2012 6:29AM

WASHINGTON — Former Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) visited Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. on Thursday at the Mayo Clinic, where Jackson is being treated for bipolar disorder. Photos released by Kennedy’s office mark the first time Jackson has been seen since June.

Kennedy told the Associated Press after leaving the Rochester, Minn., clinic that “I don’t think people understand the depth of his depression. It’s deep. He has a lot of work to continue to do to be able to learn how to treat this illness in the most effective way possible. Depression is a serious thing, and I’m glad that he’s taking it seriously.”

The AP also reported that Kennedy suggested Jackson had an initial reluctance to receive help. Kennedy told NBC News that the meeting was “really emotional” and Jackson “is worried about his political future.” Kennedy said, “I tried to emphasize there is a future.”

On Monday, the clinic said Jackson has Bipolar II depression.

The congressman’s wife, Ald. Sandi Jackson, said in a statement: “My husband is grateful for his friendship. He and Jesse have a long history in Congress together.”

Kennedy also suffered from bipolar depression. He spent almost a month at Mayo in 2006 in treatment for his addiction to pain-killers, after crashing a car near the Capitol.

Jackson and Kennedy served together in the House — and both have grown up with famous fathers: the late Sen. Ted Kennedy and the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson.

Jackson has been absent from Congress since June 10, when he was brought to the George Washington Hospital Emergency Room. After checking in to a Tucson facility, Jackson was transferred to Mayo at the end of July.

Lynn Sweet

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