10th October 2019

News: Clergy’s mental health needs are ‘not different to yours’: St Luke’s on UCB Radio

On World Mental Health Day, St Luke's Jan Korris urges the Church to be realistic about the mental health of church leaders, in a live interview with UCB Radio.

Speaking to presenter Paul Hammond on UCB’s Talking Point show, Jan said: ‘It’s sad but true that most of us assume that our church leaders would never have a problem with mental health. We need to take the risk of just asking “how are you?” and is there anything else we can do to support your wellbeing?’

In response to Paul, a church leader and broadcaster who speaks of his own mental health struggles, Jan named two frequent issues that challenge clergy’s mental health: ‘I would [cite] the boundaries of the person’s ministry, which sometimes seem to be completely unlimited. Clergy work many, many hours and certainly rural clergy can often be very isolated. In the past two days, I’ve been working with the Scottish Episcopalian Church where there are isolated clergy with very little contact with colleagues and very little time to get together with others for the support they need.’

Jan went on to outline how St Luke’s supports clergy health and wellbeing, with a particular focus on preventive work to strengthen resilience: ‘We offer this from theological training colleges up to bishops and deans, where we meet and talk about wellbeing, levels of resilience and how they can best support themselves. We remind them always that this is not a matter of self-interest – it’s actually beneficial not only to themselves and their families but to others and to God. So for longevity and quality of ministry, they really need to look after themselves.’

Jan finished by speaking of the valuable support that congregations can be to clergy when they keep clergy’s humanity in focus: ‘Let’s speak to our clergy and pastors as if they were part of the community and not something different from it, with different kind of mental health issues to the rest of the world.’


Listen to the full interview here: https://soundcloud.com/ucbmedia/talking-point-jan-korris-reflective-practise-adviser