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The clergy ask for help with stress

11 October 2013

by a staff reporter


MORE than three-quarters of the clergy questioned in a survey about their mental health would welcome help with managing stress.

The survey of 492 clergy was conducted for St Luke's Healthcare for the Clergy, in preparation for a conference next week on clergy stress, to be attended by representatives from every English diocese.

More than half the clergy polled (53 per cent) reported that they had received no training about stress. The 45-54 age-band appears to be the most stressful. Only 10.5 per cent said that they would decline help with stress, against the average across all ages of 22.6 per cent. Male clergy were more resistant to help than women: 24.4 per cent as opposed to 18 per cent.

The questionnaire also asked about clergy well-being. Given four options, 37.4 per cent of respondents agreed that they were "positive and energised"; 50.4 per cent said that they had "more good days than bad"; 11 per cent said that they were "struggling"; and 1.2 per cent (six people in the sample) opted for "barely coping, if I'm honest".

Asked if they had ever considered giving up their role in the Church, 1.6 per cent said "very frequently", 6.5 per cent said "often", 33.3 per cent said "occasionally", and 57.9 per cent said "rarely or never". Again, the 45-54 age-band seemed the most vulnerable: only 44 per cent ticked "rarely or never".

St Luke's is promoting a combination of stress-management training and reflective practice, in which clergy take part in structured, confi- dential conversations.

Leader comment

Question of the week: Are the 40s and 50s the most stressful period in someone's life? 

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