John Fetterman speaks publicly for first time since hospitalization, treatment for depression


(WASHINGTON) — Sen. John Fetterman is speaking publicly for the first time since he entered the hospital in February with severe depression, saying in an interview on “CBS Sunday Morning” that he looks forward to returning to work later this month.

Fetterman, D-Pa., said he also looks forward to “being the kind of dad and the kind of husband and the kind of senator that Pennsylvania deserves. Truly, that’s what my aspiration is.”

Elected in November in one of 2022’s most significant midterm elections, Fetterman checked himself into Walter Reed Military Medical Center for treatment for depression on Feb. 15, his staff has said.

During his CBS News interview, alongside wife Gisele, he explained that he never had any suicidal ideation or self-harm but was “indifferent” to living. He also stopped eating, lost weight and found himself staying in bed.

“You just won the biggest race in the country. And the whole thing about depression is that objectively, you may have won, but depression can absolutely convince you that you actually lost. And that’s exactly what happened, and that was the start of a downward spiral,” he said.

Fetterman said he hopes the publicity surrounding his diagnosis can help others struggling with mental health issues to choose to seek help.

“I will be going home and [this will] be the first time ever to be in remission with my depression. And I can’t wait to [see] what it really feels like to take it all in and to start making up any lost time,” he said.

“This isn’t political,” he said. “I’m just somebody that’s suffering from depression.”

Fetterman’s return to the Senate, anticipated to come during the week of April 17, will also ease Democrats’ control of the chamber, where they hold a 51-49 majority. The absences of Fetterman and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., over a shingles infection have curtailed their ability to move legislation through the floor.

Still, during his time in Walter Reed, Fetterman’s office insisted he remained involved in legislative activities, including posting pictures on social media of him meeting with his staff.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.