ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) – People on both sides of the aisle are speaking out in support of Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman, whose office announced Thursday, Feb. 16 that he was checking into the hospital to get help with his depression.

Sarah Harig, clinical director for Family Service of Roanoke Valley, says his openness about his mental health will have an impact.

“Just as it’s important to see ourselves reflected in our leaders racially and according to gender, also I think in terms of life experiences — Fetterman has given that for so many reasons, his experience with stroke and being more of a working-class individual, and now that he’s talking about mental health struggles people are going to see that reflected,” said Harig.

She says that also applies specifically to older men, who may feel more of a stigma around mental health and depression. She adds that, along with talking about his depression, publicly seeking treatment for it opens even more doors.

The fact that he’s saying not only am I struggling with this, but it’s a strength of mine to get the help I need, it’s going to help me be a better version of myself and get through the day, I think that’s going to open up again people who maybe would not have sought out treatment in the past,”

said Harig.

You can find help with mental health in Roanoke at Family Service of Roanoke Valley, or statewide at Virginia Health Care Foundation.