Mental Health Awareness

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By Garry Brackett: Executive Coach, Non-Profit Leadership Equipping , and Blogger, Garry Brackett: Executive Coach, and Non-Profit Leadership Equipping. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

I suppose it goes without saying, but 2020 has proven to be very difficult in non-profit enterprises. The isolation, social distancing, and learning to speak into a camera, Questioning if anyone would return to church, have all served to be an extraordinary year filled with pressure. Tim Keller in a recent interview with Barna Research Group shared his journey of a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer last August. His story is a crisis within a crisis. His wife one day, “How are you feeling?” Keller’s response was, “At least I am not pastoring presently!” From the lips of a dying Pastor, his assessment of how he is doing in the death journey is to declare, at least I am not pastoring. Does that give you a snapshot of the difficulty?

Barna Research has been diligent in their research in 2020. Ever since week #1 of the pandemic to the present there have been thousands surveyed to assess the weekly impact of what was happening. The results through this journey have been shocking to say the least. Here are some glimpses regarding mental health.

The stats regarding mental health during 2020 are eye-opening.

73% of faith leaders state they feel isolated

63% of faith leaders feel lonely

59% of faith leaders feel depressed (47% in 2018)

Here is perhaps the most eye-opening information. When researchers began to ask why this happening – 39% of faith leaders have stated they never have talked to anyone about their own mental health. 75% have never talked to a counselor. SHOCKING!

What is it about the structures of non –profit leadership that allows these stats to go virtually untouched or noticed. Is it time to re-evaluate the very structure of faith leadership and our expectations of it? Should we question the idea of a Lead Minister becoming the CEO of a Church Corporation, be the chief spokesperson, Head of the Elder Board, and be the primary vision caster? Who holds these types of leaders accountable, Truthfully?

Julie Wilson and Kayla Stoecklein are two single parent Pastor’s Wives whose husbands both committed suicide while leading their congregations. Recently in a Barna Podcast these two ladies share their stories of what it felt like and how they had to pick up the broken pieces of life. Here is the link to that podcast: https://churchpulseweekly.org/2021/05/wilson-and-stoecklein/

These Minister’s wives offer some very keen observations that is worth reviewing. Both Husbands were pastoring very successful churches at an early age. Both stated that success can be just as a great of a burden and failures. The pressure to keep raising the bar of excellence can become crippling.

I found it interesting when they discussed that Spousal impact is far greater than realized in the moment. Becoming Co-burdened can crush you as a spouse. What happens is that you adapt the atmosphere of the home and children based upon the mood of your spouse when they arrive home. You walk on egg-shells.

Both acknowledged that leadership without true accountability can become fatal in the long run. In other words, is there not someone that will say, “You need time off, you are not well emotionally and mentally, and you cannot get in the pulpit today. That is a BOLD statement to be making! Yet, there is truth in these thoughts. Perhaps we need to structure time away from the office as part of the expectation of performance coupled with mental health check-ups. Time off – Rest – Sabbaticals all should be part of the modern era of ministry. Do we actually allow our ministers to be truly human?

Form more information about the work and ministry of these two Pastor’s wives post suicide their websites are listed below. In the words of Kayla; When my husband took his last breath, I took my first into a new life I never dreamed would happen.

Follow Kayla: Instagram (@kaylasteck), BK.: Fear Gone Wild: A Story of Mental Illness, Suicide, and Hope Through Loss

Follow Juli: Instagram (@juliwilson), anthemofhope.org (mental health resources and live chat)

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Music: “Gratitude Mood” by David Arivett. You can learn more about his music by clicking on his name. THANKS DAVID!

338 episodes