Fetterman Checks Into Walter Reed for Treatment of Clinical Depression

February 16, 2023 by Dan McCue
Fetterman Checks Into Walter Reed for Treatment of Clinical Depression
FILE - Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., is in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to seek treatment for clinical depression. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

WASHINGTON — Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., checked himself into the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, on Wednesday night to receive treatment for clinical depression, his office said Thursday.

The senator, who suffered a near-fatal stroke while running for office last year, was hospitalized just last week after feeling lightheaded. 

Initial tests showed no sign of another stroke, but he spent two days in the hospital while doctors ran additional tests to both confirm that finding and to monitor him for potential seizures, according to a spokesman. 

He was released late Friday afternoon and returned to the Senate on Monday.

On Thursday, Fetterman’s chief of staff, Adam Jentleson, released a statement that said while the senator “has experienced depression off and on throughout his life, it only became severe in recent weeks.” 

Jentleson said that after undergoing an evaluation on Monday by Dr. Brian Monahan, the attending physician in Congress, the senator followed the recommendation for inpatient care at Walter Reed.

“John agreed, and he is receiving treatment on a voluntary basis,” Jentleson said.

The physical and emotional challenges Fetterman has encountered since his stroke have been well documented. Among other things, he has had trouble hearing and has relied on voice recognition software to help him do his work.

In a pair of Tweets on Thursday, his wife, Gisele Barreto Fetterman, said, “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. 

“It’s not easy for anyone to be open about mental health challenges. But I am so proud of him for asking for help and taking steps to get the care he needs,” she said.

In a second tweet, she added, “our family is in for some difficult days ahead, and we ask for your compassion on the path to recovery.”

Among those who responded almost immediately to the news was Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who said he was proud of Fetterman for being open about his struggle with depression and hopes it encourages others to seek help who need it.

“Stay strong, John. We are with you,” Schiff said.

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and @DanMcCue

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