Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., checked himself into the hospital “to receive treatment for clinical depression,” his chief of staff said Thursday.
The 53-year-old freshman senator, who suffered a debilitating stroke on the campaign trail last year, was admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, Chief of Staff Adam Gentleson said in a statement.
“Although John has experienced depression throughout his life, it has become severe in recent weeks,” the statement said.
“On Monday, John was evaluated by Dr. Brian P. Monahan, Attending Physician to the United States Congress,” the chief of staff said. “Yesterday, Dr. Monahan recommended inpatient care at Walter Reed. John agreed, and he is receiving treatment on a voluntary basis.”
“After examining John, the doctors at Walter Reed tell us that John is getting the care he needs, and he will be well soon,” Gentleson said.
Fetterman was hospitalized last week after feeling lightheaded. His doctors determined that he had not suffered another stroke, his office said at the time.
His wife, Gisele Fetterman, said in a pair of tweets Thursday afternoon, “After everything he’s been through this past year, there’s probably no one who wants to talk about his health less than John.” “I’m so proud of her for seeking help and for seeking care.”
She asked for privacy during a “difficult time for our family”: “Take care of yourself. Keep your loved ones close, you are not alone.”
NBC News reported that Fetterman missed the vote on Capitol Hill on Wednesday night and Thursday.
Fetterman said in June that he “almost died” after suffering a stroke in May, shortly before winning his party’s nomination for the Senate seat in Pennsylvania that was now held by retired Republican Sen. Pat Toomey. .
The stroke took Fetterman, the state’s lieutenant governor, off the campaign trail for months. When he made his public return, Fetterman said he was suffering from auditory processing and speech issues.
He struggled to deliver a clear view during the only debate with his Republican opponent, Dr. Mehmet Oz, in October.
But Fetterman maintained a polling advantage over Oz, a celebrity doctor and TV host endorsed by former President Donald Trump, even though he was absent from public view.
His victory over Oz in the midterms turned a red seat blue and helped Democrats expand their slim majority in the Senate.
Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania said he was proud of his fellow Democrat “for publicly accepting his challenges to get the help he needs and to break down the stigma for others.”
According to the American Stroke Association, it is common for stroke survivors to experience depression, and the cause may be biochemical or psychological.
His staff told NBC that Fetterman had become discouraged by post-stroke health challenges throughout the campaign. NBC reported that his difficulties with communication have also affected his relationship with his family, due to his time away from them due to his Senate duties.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y, said in a tweet, “Millions of Americans like John struggle with depression every day. I look forward to seeing him back in the Senate soon.”