Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pennsylvania) has been hospitalized to receive treatment for clinical depression. Fetterman checked into Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Wednesday after feeling light-headed last week.
Fetterman’s chief of staff, Adam Jentleson, confirmed that the Senator is receiving care from Dr. Brian P. Monahan, the attending physician in Congress. Jentleson also noted that Fetterman is following guidance to remain in in-patient care.
The Senator’s wife, Gisele Barreto Fetterman, said that the public scrutiny of his mental acuity has been “difficult” for Fetterman. She also praised her husband for asking for help and taking steps to get the care he needs.
The Senate has adopted new forms of communication with Fetterman as he recovers from his stroke, including audio-to-text technology. Democrats have expressed their support for Fetterman, recognizing the seismic shift in social acceptance of mental health struggles.
Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Illinois) noted that mental illness was once considered a curse, not a medical problem. He credited many of the returning veterans from Iraq and other theaters for convincing the public that mental health care is a necessity.
This shift in attitude is a far cry from the 1972 Presidential election, when Thomas F. Eagleton was forced to drop off the ticket after his struggle with mental health was exposed to the public. Eagleton had been hospitalized for chronic depression and had gone through electroshock therapy.