John Fetterman is setting the example
The Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988, a Resource for Mental Health Services in the Context of the 21st Century and the Implications for Congress
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please call the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 to connect with a trained counselor or visit 988lifeline.org.
But are we ready to see elected officials through their depression publicly? On Thursday, Democratic Sen. John Fetterman of Pennsylvania checked himself into Walter Reed National Military Medical Center “to receive treatment for clinical depression,” according to his chief of staff. Fetterman had a near-fatal stroke during his campaign last year and has spent many of his months of recovery not so much recovering as pushing through, campaigning competitively and now, as a freshman senator, working to prove himself to his peers and his constituents.
“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 is receiving treatment on a voluntary basis, according to Chief of Staff Adam Jentleson.
“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,” she said. I’m proud of him because he asked for help and got it.
A Memorino of a Senator with Mental Health in his 30s, and a Senate Representative who dropped out of the Kansas City Mayor’s race
Fetterman had a stroke in May of last year, which sidelined him from the midterm campaign for two months, and soon after he had a pacemaker and defibrillator implanted to treat an irregular heart rhythm.
“Millions of Americans, like John, struggle with depression each day. I am looking forward to seeing him return to the Senate soon. Schumer is sending love and support to John, Gisele, and their family.
Adam Jentleson, the chief of staff, stated that John had experienced depression off and on throughout his life.
He continues to face issues related to auditory processing. Fetterman is accompanied by aides around the Capitol who translate voice to text using closed caption.
It is generally rare for sitting officials to acknowledge receiving treatment for mental health conditions. One example is Sen. Tina Smith, D- Minn., who shared her experience with depression in her 30s in a floor speech to support legislation to expand mental health care access.
A man who served in Afghanistan dropped out of the Kansas City mayor’s race due to his mental health issues.
Ted Cruz: Lifting John up in prayer, and what better way to cope with mental illness than when you’re on the side of the aisle?
Ted Cruz said that he and his wife were lifting John up in prayer. The senator’s wife Heidi Cruz has spoken about her past battles with depression, and their teenage daughter has acknowledged experiencing mental health issues.
“Mental illness is real & serious, and I hope that [Fetterman] gets the care he needs,” Cruz continued. ” Even though you’re on one side of the political aisle, please respect his family’s request for privacy.”
Depression has become less of an outlier after 50 years. Figures from the National Institute of Mental Health show that an estimated 21 million adults in the United States—nearly one in 10—has had at least one major depressive episode. One in four Americans have suffered from a mental health issue, and that’s even greater for any type of mental illness.
Symptoms include persistent feelings of sadness, emptiness, hopelessness, an inability to focus, and recurring thoughts of death or suicide. Rebecca says it’s a good condition to have.
“There are multiple different kinds of treatments that range from medications that include psychotherapy and can also include other changes to behavior and focus on wellness and nutrition,” she said.
King Coal: The Psychological Legacy of Thomas Eagleton, the youngest-ever attorney general candidate and the father of his wife, Janet Fetterman
The forthcoming book about women behaving badly will be published by Simon and Schuster in 2024 and is the product of Dr.Peggy Drexler, a psychologist,documentary film producer and author. Her film, King Coal, was released in the year 2023 at the annual film festival. The opinions she gives are hers and not of this commentary. View more opinion on CNN.
In 1972, Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern chose as his running mate Thomas Eagleton. Eagleton was a choice pick—the youngest-ever Attorney General in Missouri history who became a popular senator.
But not long after, the rumors began: Eagleton had been hospitalized for depression the decade before and undergone shock therapy. It didn’t matter that Eagleton had gone on to build a successful career—the suggestion of any sort of mental illness, ever, was enough.
The good news is that he sought out the helps he needs—and that, at least so far, his supporters seem to be compassionate. Most of us have been impacted by depression in one form or another, so many don’t get their depression treated. It is a sign of strength that you know when you need help.
Immediately after Fetterman was appointed, a number of conservative voices questioned whether he was fit to serve. (Of course, more liberal readers may also have political motives when unquestionably backing Fetterman.)
In fact, Fetterman’s depression—and his willingness to talk about it—may make him a more compassionate leader and appealing candidate. We’re living in tough times, and almost everybody hurts; if our leaders are meant to represent us, how can we possibly fault them for being, in fact, just like us?