Senator John Fetterman to Remain in Treatment for Clinical Depression

Senator John Fetterman (Photo: Evelyn Hockstein)

Senator John Fetterman, Democrat from Pennsylvania, will undergo inpatient hospital care for several weeks as he seeks treatment for clinical depression, according to a senior staffer for the senator.

The expected duration of Fetterman’s hospitalization was disclosed shortly after his office announced that the 53-year-old freshman lawmaker had admitted himself to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, on Wednesday night.

Fetterman had previously faced a life-threatening stroke during his campaign last year and has since encountered ongoing health challenges while in office. Last week, he was hospitalized after feeling lightheaded, though medical professionals determined that he had not suffered a second stroke, his office confirmed at the time.

“While John has experienced depression off and on throughout his life, it only became severe in recent weeks,” said Adam Jentleson, Fetterman’s chief of staff, in a statement.

“After evaluating John, the doctors at Walter Reed informed us that John is receiving the necessary care and will soon return to his usual self,” Jentleson added in the statement released on Thursday afternoon.

However, Fetterman’s return to his Senate duties will not occur in the immediate future.

Senator John Fetterman (Photo: Patrick Semansky)

“We anticipate a stay of a few weeks,” during which doctors will adjust medications and determine appropriate dosages, a senior aide to Fetterman told on Thursday night.

Fetterman’s absence from Capitol Hill will temporarily reduce Democrats’ narrow 51-49 Senate majority, potentially complicating efforts in the polarized chamber to achieve legislative objectives.

Congress is currently working on legislation to raise the U.S. debt ceiling before summer and avoid defaulting on national obligations, among other priorities. The Senate will be in recess next week.

It was reported that Fetterman missed Senate votes on Wednesday night and Thursday due to his hospitalization.

News of Fetterman’s hospital stay prompted an outpouring of support from his political allies, who commended the senator for publicly addressing his battle with depression, a condition that remains stigmatized in the United States.

“John, Gisele – Jill and I are thinking about your family today,” tweeted President Joe Biden on Friday.

“Millions of people grapple with depression daily, often silently. Seeking the care you need is courageous and vital. We appreciate your leadership by example,” Biden added.

Depression frequently follows a stroke. An aide to Fetterman informed that the senator has struggled to adapt to his current circumstances, prompting his decision to seek professional treatment.

On Friday, Fetterman’s fundraising team sent an email urging supporters to donate to the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the Pennsylvania Mental Health Consumers’ Association.

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