Are priests more likely to have mental health issues?

As best I understand it, the duties of priests and other religious seems harsh, emotionally speaking. As such, are they are greater risk for mental health issues?

Think of it this way. Outside of pandemic times, a priest could easily end up doing a dozen marriages and a dozen funerals a year if not more. This includes consulting and consoling the families. Very much a possibility of doing a marriage one day then a funeral the next.

Just seems like going back and forth between such events rapidly and often would be tough.

They are also humans who are vulnerable to any kinds of health issues.

A lot of work to do could have been tiring for them especially during Sundays. Celebrating the Mass in the morning, then in the afternoon, and then at night. Our parish priest continually celebrates the Mass for a whole day during Sunday. These make them more vulnerable to mental health issues. It’s a tough work but for Christ, they give dedication for their vocation.

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Well I don’t know. Umm, what about wedding planners and funeral directors?

Everything in life can be tough. A more recent study has revealed a high rate of suicide among public high school teachers. Older research showed high risk for suicide among police officers, psychiatrists, and dentists. Even if one loves one’s job, burnout is possible. I would imagine the unemployed don’t have it easy either. Life is hard, and perhaps it was meant to be so.

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There are tons of jobs that require a person to be frequently coming into contact with death and difficult situations. Law enforcement, first responder, medical personnel, nursing home worker, home care worker, counselor, social worker, clergy, attorney who works in any sort of family law/ elder law/ estate planning, funeral director, coroner, cemetery worker, teachers who deal with troubled students, etc.

To the extent that mental health issues are caused by chemical imbalances or other physical issues, then you’re going to see the same percentage of mental health issues across all professions. To the extent that mental health issues are caused or made worse by dealing with death and difficult situations, people who can’t handle that stuff would be likely to self-select out of the profession. Most of the above careers have a fairly long training path and a lot of opportunities for someone to decide to opt out before they get committed to a particular path.

As someone said, life is difficult and death/ illness/ tragedy is unfortunately a part of life. I would think the priest has some advantage if his own faith is strong, because that will provide him with some coping strategy.

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