After Receiving Treatment for Depression, Fetterman Leaves the Hospital

Pennsylvania Democrat Senator John Fetterman made the announcement on Friday that he had checked out of Walter Reed Military Medical Center six weeks after checking himself in for treatment of major depression.

A spokesman for Mr. Fetterman stated that the senator would be spending the two weeks of Christmas recess in Pennsylvania with his family and constituents. Mr. Fetterman is scheduled to return to the Senate on April 17.

According to his office, Walter Reed’s chairman of neuropsychiatry and medical director, Dr. David Williamson, has concluded that Mr. Fetterman’s depression is no longer active. “I am so happy to be home,” Mr. Fetterman said in a statement. “I’m excited to be the father and husband I want to be, and the senator Pennsylvania deserves.”

Fetterman Checks Out of Hospital After Treatment for Depression
Fetterman Checks Out of Hospital After Treatment for Depression

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When Mr. Fetterman, 53, said he had been depressed, he made a point of holding himself out as an example of the improvement that is achievable with therapy, reflecting a rising openness among some public figures to talk about their mental health issues. He promised additional details about how the care he received at Walter Reed Hospital “changed my life” and thanked the staff there.

“For now, I want everyone to know that depression is treatable, and treatment works,” he said. “This isn’t about politics. Right now there are people who are suffering with depression in red counties and blue counties. If you need help, please get help.”

For the first time, Mr. Fetterman discussed his feelings of apathy and despair prior to entering the hospital in an interview with CBS’s “Sunday Morning,” which will run this weekend. He admitted, “I had stopped leaving my bed,” he said. “I had stopped eating. I was dropping weight.

I had stopped engaging some of the most — things that I love in my life.”  and that “depression can absolutely convince you that you actually lost.” despite winning one of the most difficult Senate races in last year’s midterm elections.

Dr. Williamson noted in Mr. Fetterman’s discharge briefing, which was provided by the senator’s office, that while Mr. Fetterman never considered suicide, he did experience“severe symptoms of depression with low energy and motivation, minimal speech, poor sleep, slowed thinking, slowed movement, feelings of guilt and worthlessness.”

Mr. Fetterman has been receiving treatment for the past six weeks, during which time he has engaged in talk therapy, had his medications closely monitored, and taken part in soothing garden walks.

As his treatment progressed, his doctor remarked that he “evidenced greater mood, brighter affect, and improved motivation, self-attitude, and involvement with others” after reading and dog-earing a copy of Dr. Raymond DePaulo’s “Understanding Depression.”

Mr. Fetterman and his closest advisors were adamant about taking their time with him. Political opponents had doubted his fitness for office because of his lengthy hospital stay and the ongoing consequences of the severe stroke he suffered the previous year, which have made adjusting to his new role more difficult.

The tulips in Mr. Fetterman’s garden were dormant in early February, when he was admitted to the hospital. They blossomed throughout his lengthy stay and were fully in flower when he finally left. An employee who requested anonymity to discuss Mr. Fetterman’s private leaving said that he gave a bunch of tulips to the employees as a farewell present.

Fetterman Checks Out of Hospital After Treatment for Depression
Fetterman Checks Out of Hospital After Treatment for Depression

Mr. Fetterman’s chief of staff, Adam Jentleson, has been visiting the hospital every morning to meet with the senator and update him on the day’s business while he is incapacitated. Mr. Fetterman submitted the Railway Accountability Act on Thursday, which aims to increase rail safety regulations in the wake of the February train catastrophe in East Palestine, Ohio.

His Democratic colleagues and the office still welcomed his homecoming. When asked about Mr. Jentleson earlier this month, “No one in the Senate has seen him being himself,” he replied. That individual will be a formidable senator.

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