NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A fashion model who strutted naked on a Times Square ledge before plunging to the ground says he wants people to respond to mental illness with more compassion.

Krit McClean said in an op-ed published by the New York Post that most reactions to his public breakdown have been punitive. He says he lost his modeling deal, faces a Columbia University disciplinary hearing and is charged criminally after the June 30 episode.

McClean has been receiving psychiatric treatment after his June arrest. He was hospitalized at Bellevue.

“At first, I didn’t believe I had anything wrong with me. But after meeting my current therapist, Dr. Samoon Ahmad, I began to understand and accept my diagnosis — I was bipolar, and my nude jaunt was part of a manic episode,” McClean wrote.

He told the newspaper he is going public with what he went through so people will show empathy and sensitivity to others suffering mental illness.

“We can all relate to being judged and misunderstood. We have all at some point been the “weird” one, whether in the classroom, gym or office,” McClean wrote. “But if we approach each other with empathy, openness and sensitivity instead of judgment, we might just learn from one another.”

McClean says he has medication and therapy to help his genetic predisposition for manic episodes. Prosecutors are set to drop charges if he continues treatment and avoids trouble for six months.

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