The calendar year 2023 certainly has had high and low points for Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman.
On Thursday, his chief of staff Adam Jentleson shared news that Fetterman has checked himself into Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to receive treatment for clinical depression.
Jentleson said “While John has experienced depression off and on throughout his life, it only became severe in recent weeks.”
Dr. Brian P. Monahan, the Attending Physician of the United States Congress, evaluated the 53-year-old Fetterman and recommended inpatient care at Walter Reed.
Jentleson said that “John agreed and he is receiving treatment on a voluntary basis.”
According to the Mayo Clinic website, “depression ranges in seriousness from mild, temporary episodes of sadness to severe, persistent depression. Clinical depression is the more-severe form of depression, also known as major depression or major depressive disorder. It isn’t the same as depression caused by a loss, such as the death of a loved one, or a medical condition, such as a thyroid disorder.
“Clinical depression can affect people of any age, including children. However, clinical depression symptoms, even if severe, usually improve with psychological counseling, antidepressant medications or a combination of the two.”
Fetterman’s wife, Gisele, tweeted, “After what he’s been through in the past year, there’s probably no one who wanted to talk about his own health less than John. I’m so proud of him for asking for help and getting the care he needs.”
She added, “This is a difficult time for our family, so please respect our privacy. For us, the kids come first. Take care of yourselves. Hold your loved ones close, you are not alone.”
The former Pennsylvania lieutenant governor suffered a stroke in May during the Democratic Senate primary. He has received accommodations to assist him in his Senate duties.
Fetterman recently experienced some lightheadedness and was hospitalized for a few days. Doctors said they did not find any sign of a new stroke or seizure.
Back in 2018, Senator Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) shared his diagnosis with pharmacologically induced mania after taking steroids for a rare illness 10 years ago. He said he then suffered from clinical depression for nearly two months after the treatment was over.
“I really do believe that we have to make sure that people understand that today’s society views this as an illness on par with a physical illness,” Tillis said about his decision to come forward. “We need to better educate the population on how they can help get people who are suffering with mental illness to someone who can help them.”
The revelation comes days after the Commonwealth’s senior Senator – Bob Casey – underwent successful surgery for prostate cancer.
In a statement, Casey added, “Millions of Americans struggle with their mental health. I am proud of John for getting the help he needs and for publicly acknowledging his challenges to break down the stigma for others.”