Mental Illness and Ministers: Imagining a Community Where They Can Be Vulnerable
Greene, Mary E
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The stigmatization of mental health within the Church has created a perplexing dichotomy where church congregants shun those who are in need, a problem that has long vexed Christians. Even more complex is the problem of psychological health for ministers, who are often forgotten about having their own difficulties simply due to the title they bear. Mental health issues for ministers in America have continually risen in recent years, sadly with an increase in the number of suicides committed by Church leaders. The lack of support and availability for ministers to speak about their struggles is becoming a national issue that needs more awareness and conversation regarding the topic. I will look into the reasons why Church tradition prevents ministers from being vulnerable in discussing their mental health and why there is such little discussion about this important and prevalent issue. I will also look into ways that church congregants and officials within the Church community can create a better community for their leaders. Additionally, I will try to show how the use of imagination can break the Church tradition that prevents vulnerability of ministers’ struggles and how instead it can be used to create a new community and support for the emotionally taxing role that they occupy.