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Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman is currently hospitalized and receiving treatment for clinical depression, a week after being briefly hospitalized for another issue.

According to reports, Fetterman’s office confirmed on Thursday (Feb. 16) that the Democrat had gone to the hospital. “Last night, Senator John Fetterman checked himself into Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to receive treatment for clinical depression. While John has experienced depression off and on throughout his life, it only became severe in recent weeks,” his office related in a statement.

While the statement didn’t elaborate on what prompted his decision to seek help, the senator had been hospitalized briefly at the George Washington University Hospital last week after experiencing a period of feeling lightheaded. Test results showed that there were no signs of a seizure or stroke suffered. The statement mentioned that he would undergo voluntary inpatient treatment.

The 53-year-old freshman senator has been through a particularly rough time up until now. Then lieutenant-governor, Fetterman suffered a severe stroke days before the primary election in Pennsylvania in May 2022. He would recover, staying off the campaign trail but winning the Democratic nomination. He still grappled with auditory processing and was transparent about his struggles. Fetterman would be voted into the Senate in resounding fashion over doctor-turned-TV host Mehmet Oz, who was the Republican candidate.

Depression is commonplace after a stroke, many doctors observed. Dr. Eric Lenze, head of the Department of Psychiatry at Washington University in St. Louis, remarked to the Associated Press that Fetterman is “interesting and heroic” for being transparent “instead of saying they’re hospitalized for exhaustion or trying to hide it.”

Fetterman’s health issues and honesty about them have sparked a new conversation within the congressional body about mental health and the need to do more for those suffering. “We’re living in a time of extraordinary stress and crisis,” Representative Jamie Raskin (D-MD) said in an interview. The congressman is undergoing cancer treatment and lost his son days before the January 6th insurrection. “We’ve come through a plague, we’ve had tremendous mental and emotional health problems.”

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