Mental health is often overlooked because it’s been stigmatized for so long.
However, the reality is that by normalizing the prevalence of mental health, lives will be saved. This is why it’s important to talk about how Senator John Fetterman checked himself into a hospital to seek help for his clinical depression.
“While John has experienced depression off and on throughout his life, it only became severe in recent weeks,” his chief of staff, Adam Jentleson, tweeted as part of the official statement.
On Monday, John was evaluated by Dr. Brian P. Monahan, the Attending Physician of the United States Congress. Yesterday, Dr. Monahan recommended inpatient care at Walter Reed. John agreed, and he is receiving treatment on a voluntary basis. 2/
— Adam Jentleson (@AJentleson) February 16, 2023
According to the thread of tweets, Fetterman, Pennsylvania’s Senator, was evaluated on Monday by the attending physician of Congress, Dr. Brian P. Mohanan. After the initial evaluation, Dr. Monahan recommended inpatient care at Walter Reed.
“John agreed,” Jentleson continued in his tweets. “He is receiving treatment on a voluntary basis,” Mr. Jentleson said. “After examining John, the doctors at Walter Reed told us that John is getting the care he needs, and will soon be back to himself.”
The support for Senator Fetterman speaks volumes
His Brazilian wife, Gisele Barreto Fetterman, also tweeted about John Fetterman’s decision to seek help.
“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. I’m so proud of him for asking for help and getting the care he needs.”
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. I’m so proud of him for asking for help and getting the care he needs. pic.twitter.com/SfuwWTSUcG
— Gisele Barreto Fetterman (@giselefetterman) February 16, 2023
She also wrote that this is a difficult time for our family, so please respect our privacy. “For us, the kids come first. Take care of yourselves. Hold your loved ones close, you are not alone,” she added.
It is of note that Senator Fetterman suffered a stroke in May of 2022, which didn’t allow him to campaign for the midterm elections for about two months. Since his stroke, he’s had a pacemaker and defibrillator implanted to keep track of his heart rhythm. It is also important to understand that there is such a thing as post-stroke depression.
Though this must be an incredibly trying moment for the Fettermans, it was a breath of fresh air to see how many people, including people from the Latine community, support the senator’s choice to get mental health treatment.
I admire Senator John Fetterman for openly seeking treatment for depression at Walter Reed.
Back in 2010, I was hospitalized for depression. I would not be alive, let alone in Congress, were it not for mental health care.
Millions of Americans are rooting for you, Senator.
— Ritchie Torres (@RitchieTorres) February 16, 2023
Mental healthcare is healthcare. Love and light to @JohnFetterman and the whole Fetterman family. Grateful for the candid and open approach to talking about depression.
— Robert Garcia (@RobertGarcia) February 16, 2023
Sending our thoughts to Sen. @JohnFetterman who's getting the support he needs.
It's great to see our leaders being open and honest about their struggle with depression and hoping it encourages others to seek help who need it. https://t.co/EH0Mp1iKrc
— Voto Latino (@votolatino) February 16, 2023
BREAKING: Sen Fetterman has checked himself into Walter Reed Medical Center to seek treatment for his clinical depression.
It takes real courage to seek treatment for mental health challenges. I applaud Sen @JohnFetterman for getting the help he needs.
— Antonio Arellano (@AntonioArellano) February 16, 2023
Leadership & strength. @JohnFetterman is leading by example, creating space to address mental healthcare at a time when so many in our nation – including our young people, are similarly suffering.
Grateful and wishing him the best. https://t.co/EmMW2edKYD
— MARIA TERESA KUMAR 🌻 (@MariaTeresa) February 16, 2023
What this means for our community
For a long time, society viewed anything relating to mental health as a sign of weakness. The Latine community, for instance, viewed mental health illnesses as a sign of weakness and many likened it to “cosas de locos.” Machismo has also played a part in how our community reacts to mental health. For example, men are taught not to show any sign of vulnerability, even if it can be damaging to their mental health. But, as we progress as a society, more and more people are understanding that mental health is as important as physical health.
Sen. Fetterman is using his platform to let others know that mental health is vital to our lives. He is showing men that it is okay to ask for help as well. Truly, there is nothing wrong with doing what’s best for your health.
Remember, taking care of your mental health is not only brave, but it is also what should be done. Prioritizing your mental health should be as common and normal as getting your physical check-up every year.
Let’s hope this serves as a wake-up for Congress and that they will start implementing laws that can help those struggling with their mental health.