There are still disheartening statistics. The most disheartening is the rate of suicide among clergy. According to Brian Robb, the pastoral profession has one of the top 3 suicide rates of any profession.
“Members of the clergy now suffer from obesity, hypertension and depression at rates higher than most Americans. In the last decade, their use of antidepressants has risen, while their life expectancy has fallen. Many would change jobs if they could.”
- 13% of active pastors are divorced.
- 23% have been fired or pressured to resign at least once in their careers.
- 25% don’t know where to turn when they have a family or personal conflict or issue.
- 25% of pastors’ wives see their husband’s work schedule as a source of conflict.
- 33% felt burned out within their first five years of ministry.
- 33% say that being in ministry is an outright hazard to their family.
- 40% of pastors and 47% of spouses are suffering from burnout, frantic schedules, and/or unrealistic expectations.
- 45% of pastors’ wives say the greatest danger to them and their family is physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual burnout.
- Though I can find no specific statistics (I’m sure they are out there), the pastorate is seeing a significant rise in the number of female pastors.
- 45% of pastors say that they’ve experienced depression or burnout to the extent that they needed to take a leave of absence from ministry.
- 50% feel unable to meet the needs of the job.
- 52% of pastors say they and their spouses believe that being in pastoral ministry is hazardous to their family’s well-being and health.
- 56% of pastors’ wives say that they have no close friends.
- 57% would leave the pastorate if they had somewhere else to go or some other vocation they could do.
- 70% don’t have any close friends.
- 75% report severe stress causing anguish, worry, bewilderment, anger, depression, fear, and alienation.
- 80% of pastors say they have insufficient time with their spouse.
- 80% believe that pastoral ministry affects their families negatively.
- 90% feel unqualified or poorly prepared for ministry.
- 90% work more than 50 hours a week.
- 94% feel under pressure to have a perfect family.
- 1,500 pastors leave their ministries each month due to burnout, conflict, or moral failure.
Doctors, lawyers and clergy have the most problems with drug abuse, alcoholism and suicide.”
Nothing much has changed in 5 years. You are a much loved person, even though you may not feel it while tussling with day-to-day problems. If those dark thought start to fester, call the National Suicide Hotline 1-800-273-8255. I realize your funds are limited, but try to get counselling. Go to another town to maintain your confidentiality. Ask for a sliding scale fee. If the therapist is not helping after 2 sessions, find another. A “Christian” councillor may not be beneficial at this time. Yes, there may be faith issues involved, but for now you are a hurting person needing help. Treat your humanity first. Be loving to yourself. Put down the burden of Call during your initial sessions. The Divinity you serve will understand.
Source of statistics: http://briandoddonleadership.com/2013/04/10/pastors-and-suicide/