While the Board of Selectmen is expected to deliberate at a meeting tonight on First Selectman Nina Daniel’s request for an additional four-week medical leave of absence, her family has said they would like to “clear the air” about her medical condition.
Speaking to the Forum with Daniel Weston permission, her sons, Daniel Ritts of Massachusetts, and James Ritts of California, said their mother has a mental health problem and is undergoing treatment. “We have seen a tremendous outpouring of support from people in the Weston community for our mother during this time, and we ask for people’s understanding,” they said.
Realizing the importance of the first selectman’s position as the town’s chief elected official, they said they wanted to explain the nature of their mother’s condition because her behavior has been erratic lately. “She has a mental illness, and is in an acute phase now where she is suffering from delusions, and has been for several months. She is not a harm to herself or others and she is getting medical treatment. This is episodic and can be controlled,” Daniel Ritts said.
He said his mother has a history of mental illness which goes back 40 or more years in which she periodically has delusional episodes. They said she hasn’t had such an episode in the past 10 years — until recently. She changed medications for her illness several months ago because she was having bad side effects, and they said her new medication may not be working to its full effect. With proper medication, they believe the episode will eventually stop and she will begin to function normally again. “We want to clear the air, because there is often a stigma associated with mental illness. But like any other chronic disease, this is not her choice. This is the hand she has been dealt,” Ritts said.