>> November 11, 2009
Anyone read the article in USA Today a couple of weeks ago? Propelled by a pastor's suicide in North Carolina, the article explores the reasons lead a pastor to feel depressed and that there's no way out. Some interesting notes from the article:
- Being a pastor — a high-profile, high-stress job with nearly impossible expectations for success — can send one down the road to depression, according to pastoral counselors.
- It's a job that breeds isolation and loneliness — the pastorate's "greatest occupational hazards," said Scoggin, who counsels many Baptist and other ministers. "These suicides are born out of a lack of those social supports that can intervene in times of personal crisis."
- "The likelihood is that one out of every four pastors is depressed,.."
Counselors say ... fewer depressed ministers get treated because of career fears, social stigma and spiritual taboo.
"Clergy do not talk about it because it violates their understanding of their faith," said Scoggin. "They believe they are not supposed to have those kinds of thoughts."
- Society still places a stigma on mental illness, but Christians make it worse, he said, by "over-spiritualizing" depression and other disorders — dismissing them as a lack of faith or a sign of weakness.
- For pastors, treatment can come at a high price. "You are committing career suicide if you have to seek treatment," said Stanford, "particularly if you have to take time off."