Sen. John Fetterman was discharged Friday from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he had been receiving treatment for clinical depression since mid-February.
Fetterman’s spokesperson, Joe Calvello, said in a statement that the Democratic senator is back in Braddock, Pennsylvania, to spend time with his family and constituents “for the next two weeks.” He is planning to return to Washington, D.C., when the Senate is back in session on April 17.
“I am so happy to be home,” Fetterman said Friday. “I’m excited to be the father and husband I want to be, and the senator Pennsylvania deserves.”
In his statement, Fetterman also expressed gratitude for the team at Walter Reed in Bethesda, Maryland.
“I am extremely grateful to the incredible team at Walter Reed. The care they provided changed my life,” Fetterman said. “I will have more to say about this soon, but for now I want everyone to know that depression is treatable, and treatment works. 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.”
The senator was being treated for “major depression” by a team led by David Williamson, neuropsychiatry chief and medical director at Walter Reed, Fetterman’s office said in a news release.
According to the release, Williamson said Fetterman’s depression is now in remission.
Fetterman checked himself in for treatment on Feb. 15, with staff citing a mental health battle that they said intensified during his recovery from a May stroke on the campaign trail.
In a CBS interview, Fetterman said that his struggle with depression began a “downward spiral” after he was elected in November.
“The whole thing about depression is — is that objectively, you may have won, but depression can actually convince you that you actually lost,” Fetterman told CBS’ Jane Pauley. “I had stopped leaving my bed. I stopped eating, I was dropping weight.”
Depression, Fetterman added, caused him to stop engaging with some of the things he most loves in life.
When he was admitted, Fetterman had severe symptoms of depression, but no suicidal ideation, according to a discharge briefing from Williamson cited by Fetterman’s office. Fetterman’s symptoms had worsened in the 8 weeks preceding his admission, and he had low blood pressure that potentially impacted brain circulation, Williamson noted.
Following his voluntary admission to the hospital, doctors saw no new stroke, and Fetterman’s depression was managed with medication therapies, according to the briefing. In the weeks that followed, Fetterman’s doctors said his mood improved and he began sleeping, eating and hydrating.
Fetterman also worked with speech-language specialists and was fitted for hearing aids after his doctors identified mild to moderate sensorineural hearing loss, the briefing said.
NBC News previously reported on Fetterman’s plans to return to the Senate in April, with Calvello telling NBC News earlier this week that Fetterman is “in the zone” and “excited to get back to the Senate.”
Zoë Richards is the evening politics reporter for NBC News.