Greg Warner of Religion News Service writes about the emotional toll that many clergy experience including depression and sometimes suicide.
Most counselors and psychologists interviewed for this article agreed depression among clergy is at least as prevalent as in the general population. As many as 12% of men and 26% of women will experience major depression during their lifetime, according to the American Medical Association.
“The likelihood is that one out of every four pastors is depressed,” said Matthew Stanford, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.
But anxiety and depression in the pulpit are “markedly higher” in the last five years, said Smoot. “The current economic crisis has caused many of our pastors to go into depression.”
Besides the recession’s strain on church budgets, depressed pastors increasingly report frustration over their congregations’ resistance to cultural change.
Most depression does not lead to suicide, but almost all suicides begin with depression. Depression causes two-thirds of the 30,000 suicides reported each year, the AMA says.
Nearly two out of three depressed people don’t seek treatment, according to studies by the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance.
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