Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman is speaking out about the benefits of mental health treatment — particularly among men.
Following a six-week stay at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for depression, the Democrat told MSNBC that he's he’s “begging” people struggling with their mental health to seek care.
“I’m begging you. Please go look for your treatment. It works, and it’s what saved me," he said.
Fetterman suffered a stroke on the campaign trail last year, a race which he said “accelerated” his mental health spiral. The Senator said that his “depression was in full force” as he was sworn in.
Fetterman also noted that it he sometimes felt discouraged from seeking treatment because of his gender. He added that he “would just beg men” in particular to seek care.
“This isn’t a matter of who’s tough or who’s not,” he said.
While depression is equally as likely to develop in men as it is in women, the condition manifests differently across genders. Men's willingness to talk about their feelings and their ways of expressing them can often mislead loved ones, and even doctors.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, "men and women both experience depression but their symptoms can be very different. Because men who are depressed may appear to be angry or aggressive instead of sad, their families, friends, and even their doctors may not always recognize the anger or aggression as depression symptoms."
Men have also expressed sharply increasing rates of loneliness, which the United States Surgeon General has deemed an "epidemic." They are also more likely to die by suicide, despite women attempting at higher rates, because they use more lethal methods.
Fetterman wants men to know that help is available. Despite being "skeptical," the Senator said he wanted to “give it one last chance.” Now, he will “never forget the decision” to seek treatment.
Fetterman said he believed “if I don’t do something to claim my life ... this could be tragic.”