Senator John Fetterman has returned to the Senate after receiving treatment for clinical depression at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The Pennsylvania Democrat began treatment as an inpatient in February and was released in late March.
“It’s great to be back,” he told reporters when he arrived at the Capitol Monday afternoon. He did not answer questions.
“I want everyone to know that depression is treatable and that treatment works,” Fetterman said in a statement after his release. “This is not about politics, right now there are people suffering from depression in red and blue counties. If you need help, please get help.” His office had said he would return to Washington, DC, when the Senate reconvened on April 17 after a two-week recess.
While Fetterman had dealt with “depression from time to time throughout his life, it only became severe in recent weeks,” his chief of staff said in February, announcing that the senator had decided to seek treatment.
Fetterman, a 53-year-old freshman senator who was elected in November last year, suffered a stroke ahead of the May 2022 Democratic Senate primary in Pennsylvania, which he won.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle expressed their support for the Pennsylvania Democrat as he underwent treatment for clinical depression, and Fetterman’s decision to seek treatment opened a larger conversation on Capitol Hill about mental health.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, told CNN’s Lauren Fox that Fetterman “saved lives” by speaking out publicly about getting help for her depression.
“I think John Fetterman saved lives by being a prominent person who came forward and said that he had a mental health issue and would seek treatment in a very visible and public way,” Warren said.
Editor’s Note: If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts or mental health issues, call the 988 suicide and crisis lifeline, or visit the hotline’s website.