skip to main content
Financial Services
MMBB Supporting Your Calling is Our Calling MonitorMMBB Supporting Your Calling is Our Calling

Clergy Mental Health: Not Too Blessed to Be Stressed

There is a clergy mental health crisis that experts say can no longer be ignored. Not only do studies show a 20 percent drop in clergy job satisfaction, but a 400% increase in the risk of burnout from 2015 to 2022.1 

The reason behind the crisis is complex. Pastors are almost always on call. Many are expected to be administrators, teachers, preachers, counselors, staff supervisors, facilities managers, fundraisers, and officiate over all the congregation’s life events, including weddings, funerals, and weekly services. Often, they walk alongside people who have experienced unimaginable grief. Clergy persons frequently have blurry, if any, boundaries on their time.

Studies show many suffer from perfectionism in both their appearance and preaching while experiencing social isolation, lack of self-care, financial stresses and poor work-life balance. While much of this has always been an occupational hazard, the Associated Press reports that post-pandemic, it has increased due to the “collective trauma” all of us have experienced. More and more clergy are reporting that they’re exhausted, with many considering leaving the profession.

Clergy also face obstacles in getting the mental health services they may need. Some of these hurdles involve financial concerns, taking off from work, confidentiality concerns, fear of reprisal, lack of denominational support, lack of knowledge about local mental health resources, and fear of being perceived as dysfunctional.

Mental health includes emotional, psychological, spiritual, and social well-being. The state of our mental health affects how we think, feel, and experience joy in our daily lives as well as influencing our coping skills. There are many factors contributing to being at risk for depression or burnout including family history, traumas experienced, and biochemistry make-up. Warning signs of depression and/or burn out include:

  • eating or sleeping too much or too little
  • pulling away from people or activities
  • low or no energy
  • unexplained aches and pains
  • feeling helpless or hopeless
  • increased smoking, drinking or drug use
  • feeling confused or forgetful
  • feeling on edge, angry or upset
  • fighting with friends and family members
  • mood swings that cause problems in relationships
  • persistent, uncontrollable thoughts
  • hearing voices or believing things that aren’t true
  • thoughts of self-harm or wanting to harm others
  • inability to perform daily tasks

Pastors who experience a lively sense of mental health tend to have a strong connection with friends, family, and God and, in general, feel supported. Some suggested ways to help pastors and clergy feel supported include:

  • Taking vacations and periodic Sundays off.
  • Assigning themselves a Sabbath day.
  • Speaking to congregations, elders and councils about not creating meetings or other tasks on a pastor’s day off and notify church staff not to call pastors on vacation unless it is an emergency.
  • Sharing self-care practices with other staff so they can provide support and accountability.
  • Making sure to get rest and exercise, even if it’s just a 10-minute walk outdoors twice a day.

Lay staff and congregants can ask clergy how they can pray for them and what they need to feel supported.

Lay leaders can provide robust health benefits, including access to mental health supports and educate staff and small group leaders about mental health issues.

The importance of self-care can be summed up with an analogy from the safety instructions we receive at the beginning of an airline flight. The flight attendants tell us that in the event of cabin pressure loss, we should place oxygen masks on ourselves before we place them on our children or loved ones. We have to make sure we can breathe for the rest of the flight in order to help others with their masks. It's the same in a congregation. Remember, pastors must first take care of themselves in order to efficiently care for their flocks.




The information contained herein is for informational purposes only.  While MMBB made every attempt to ensure that the information is accurate, MMBB is not responsible for any errors or omissions or the results obtained from the use of this information.  MMBB is not liable for any success or failure that is directly or indirectly related to the use of the information contained herein.  The information contained herein does not constitute any financial, insurance, investment, legal, or tax advice.  In no event shall, MMBB and/or its fiduciaries, directors, officers, employees, or agents thereof be liable for any special, direct, indirect, consequential, or incidental damages or any damages whatsoever, whether in action of contract, negligence or tort, arising out of or in connection with the use of the information contained herein.

Stay Connected with MMBB
Keep up to date with all our financial services!
Email Address

Translations of any materials into languages other than English are intended solely as a convenience to the non-English-reading public. We have attempted to provide an accurate translation of the original material in English, but due to the nuances in translating to a foreign language, slight differences may exist.

Las traducciones de cualquier material a idiomas que no sean el inglés son para la conveniencia de aquellos que no leen inglés. Hemos intentado proporcionar una traducción precisa del material original en inglés, pero debido a las diferencias de la traducción a un idioma extranjero, pueden existir ligeras diferencias.

Close Alert

You will be linking to another website not owned or operated by MMBB. MMBB is not responsible for the availability or content of this website and does not represent either the linked website or you, should you enter into a transaction. The inclusion of any hyperlink does not imply any endorsement, investigation, verification or monitoring by MMBB of any information in any hyperlinked site. We encourage you to review their privacy and security policies which may differ from MMBB.

If you “Proceed”, the link will open in a new window.

back to topBack to Top