Category : Stress

(Prospect) Alice Goodman–Clerical life: Curing clergy burnout

The model and justification of most holidays taken by clergy is Jesus’s custom of going to a deserted place to pray. “He did it: you should too.” From the earliest centuries, Christianity had its contemplative side; these stories are its foundation.

Before that, though, there’s the account of the flight of the Prophet Elijah from the vengeance of Jezebel in the 19th chapter of the first book of Kings. This is the model of clergy burnout. An angel gives him a hot cake baked on a stone, and lets him sleep. Then, when he wakes, he is offered another cake, and sleeps again. Only after that does he go up to the mountain of God where the Lord speaks to him, not in the sound of gale or earthquake, but in sheer silence, the echoing silence when the wind and the earthquake have passed. In that silence, God tells Elijah that there will be a new king, and also that there will be a new prophet, because more people have been faithful than Elijah is willing to credit.

That’s a favourite story of mine, as is the one told by the reclusive 19th-century Hasidic sage Menachem Mendel Morgensztern of Kotzk, better known as the Kotzker Rebbe. It concerns the sacred goat whose horns reached up to the heavens. As he walked through the world, the goat heard a poor old man crying. “Why do you weep?” asked the goat. “Because I have lost my snuffbox.” “Cut a bit from one of my horns,” said the goat, “Take what you need to make a new one.” You can guess what happened next. There are more poor folk in the world who have lost their snuff boxes than you can count.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Stress, Theology

(NYT front page) No Shots, No Day Care: Parents of Kids Under 5 Stuck in Grueling Limbo

Twice last year, Margaret Schulte and her husband, Jason Abercrombie, traveled 11 hours round-trip to Louisiana from their home in Tulsa, Okla., in the hopes of vaccinating their children, who were 2 and 4, against the coronavirus.

The only way they could get shots for their children — among the more than 19 million Americans under 5 years old who are not yet eligible for vaccinations — was to take part in a clinical trial. So they signed up, hoping a successful vaccine would mean that by now, or at least sometime very soon, a semblance of prepandemic life would be on the horizon.

It has not worked out that way.

The Pfizer trial that their children participated in did not produce promising results, the company said last month. Nor have vaccines emerged from other corners. Moderna has yet to release results of its pediatric trials.

Now Ms. Schulte and Mr. Abercrombie are among the millions of parents stuck in an excruciating limbo during a surge of Omicron cases, forced to wrestle with day care closures and child care crises as the rest of the world appears eager to move on.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Children, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Stress, Travel

(WSJ) American Workers Are Burned Out, and Bosses Are Struggling to Respond

In the first 10 months of this year, America’s workers handed in nearly 39 million resignations, the highest number since tracking began in 2000.

Some want better jobs. Others, a better work-life balance. Still others want a complete break from the corporate grind. Almost two years into the pandemic that left millions doing their jobs from home, many Americans are rethinking their relationship with work.

Companies are struggling to stop employees from leaving and to boost morale. Some are trying mandatory companywide vacation days and blackout hours when meetings are banned. Executives are experimenting with new ways of working, including four-day workweeks and asynchronous schedules that allow people to set their own hours.

Employers say burnout, long an issue for American workers and exacerbated by the pandemic, is a prime cause. A September survey by think tank the Conference Board found that more than three-quarters of 1,800 U.S. workers cited concerns such as stress and burnout as big challenges to well-being at work, up from 55% six months earlier. Half said workload-related pressure was harming their mental health.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Psychology, Stress

(NYT front page) An Exhausted World Wonders: Will the Covid19 Era Ever End?

“I’m so tired of all these routines,” Chen Jun, 29, a tech company worker in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, said the other day. He was forced to take three Covid-19 tests in June following an outbreak in the city, and then had to quarantine for 14 days. Thumbtacks he used to pin on a world map to trace his travels have stopped multiplying. “I’m starting to think we’ll never see an end to the pandemic.”

This sense of endlessness, accompanied by growing psychological distress leading to depression, was a recurrent theme in two dozen interviews conducted in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas. After two years of zigzagging policy and roller coaster emotions, terrible loss and tantalizing false dawns, closing borders and intermittently shuttered schools, people’s resilience has dwindled.

That is sure to pose new challenges for leaders trying to protect their people and their economies. Will the weary obey new restrictions, or risk seeing family and friends after months of forced separation? The question of just how draconian leaders can be when people’s mental health has become so fragile appears to be a core dilemma as the pandemic enters its third year.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Psychology, Stress

(Barna) 38% of U.S. Pastors Have Thought About Quitting Full-Time Ministry in the Past Year

Nearly Two in Five Pastors Have Considered Quitting Full-Time Ministry


With pastors’ well-being on the line, and many on the brink of burnout, 38 percent indicate they have considered quitting full-time ministry within the past year. This percentage is up 9 full points (from 29%) since Barna asked church leaders this same question at the beginning of 2021.

A deeper analysis of these data show that some groups are faring worse than others. One of the more alarming findings is that 46 percent of pastors under the age of 45 say they are considering quitting full-time ministry, compared to 34 percent of pastors 45 and older. Keeping the right younger leaders encouraged and in their ministry roles will be crucial to the next decade of congregational vitality in the U.S.

Another notable gap emerges based on denomination, with pastors from mainline denominations far more likely to consider quitting than those from non-mainline denominations (51% vs. 34%). Other significant differences arise among gender, with female pastors being far more likely than male pastors to have considered giving up full-time ministry, and ministry tenure. Specifically, roughly one-third of pastors who are considering resignation have been in ministry for about 20 years but have been at their current church for seven years.

Read it all.

Posted in Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Stress

(NBC) Mental Health ‘Bootcamp’ Helping Veterans Struggling With PTSD

‘Home Base, a Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital program, is helping veterans access therapy and critical mental health care. NBC News’ Cynthia McFadden speaks with a psychologist who helps run the program, and two veterans who took part in a two-week intensive program funded by the Wounded Warrior project.’

Watch it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Health & Medicine, Military / Armed Forces, Psychology, Stress, Suicide, Violence

(WSJ) The Religious Leaders on the Front Lines of Mental Health

The Rev. Edward Cardoza estimates that the volume of calls, messages and texts from members of his St. Mark’s Episcopal Church increased 20-fold over the past year. Most read something like this: “I’m sure you’re really busy and don’t have time, but if you do, would you have time for a conversation?”

People who had been sober for 10 or 15 years worried they might start drinking again. Some mentioned suicide. Couples who rarely argued were yelling at each other.

When the church resumed in-person services June 13, a new tension emerged: surprisingly angry reactions from some members to any pandemic-related safeguards that remained in place. Other clergy he talked to have seen similar levels of acrimony.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Stress

(RNS) For some pastors, the past year was a sign from God it was time to quit

Chuck DeGroat, professor of counseling and Christian spirituality at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan, said pastors have long had to mediate disputes over theology or church practice, like the role of women in the church or the so-called “worship wars” of recent decades. They now face added stresses from the pandemic and polarization, with people willing to leave their churches over mask policies or discussions of race.

“I’m hearing from pastors that they just don’t know what to do,” he said.

A recent survey of Protestant pastors by the research firm Barna Group found that 29% said they had given “real, serious consideration to quitting being in full-time ministry within the last year.”

David Kinnaman, president of Barna, said the past year has been a “crucible” for pastors. Churches have become fragmented by political and social divides. They have also become frayed, as “people’s connectedness to local congregations is waning.

“The pandemic was a great revealer of the challenges churches face,” said Kinnaman.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Stress

(PBS) Youth suicide rates are on the rise in the U.S.

Suicides are on the rise among young Americans of all races, part of a grim national trend that has contributed to lower life expectancy overall, according to new federal data. But a separate study suggests that there are racial disparities in youth suicidal behavior, due in great part because some children lack access to vital resources.

While suicide was the 10th most common cause of death among Americans of all ages in 2017, it was the second leading cause of death among young Americans age 15 to 24, according to new data released [last] Thursday from the National Center for Health Statistics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And no racial or ethnic group has been spared in this rising rate, said Sally Curtin, a statistician with the National Center for Health Statistics who has studied these suicide trends for years and served as the report’s lead author.

“The community at large needs to pay attention and figure out what’s going on, what’s driving these trends,” she said.

According to Heather Kelly, a clinical psychologist with the American Psychological Association, there is an urgent need for more research to seek out evidence-based ways to prevent suicide and help those who struggle with thoughts of self-harm, especially among veterans, the LGBTQ community, youth and young adults.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Stress, Suicide, Teens / Youth, Theology, Young Adults

Scott Sauls–When Pastors Crash and Burn

Many of us pastors, including Spurgeon and including me, have fallen into the emotional abyss—not in spite of the fact that we are in ministry, but because we are in ministry.

Studies show that pastors experience anxiety and depression at a rate that is disproportionately high compared to the rest of the population. Due to the unique pressures associated with spiritual warfare, unrealistic expectations from congregants and oneself, the freedom many feel to criticize and gossip about pastors with zero accountability (especially in the digital age), failure to take time off for rest and replenishment, marriage and family tensions due to the demands of ministry, financial strains and self-comparison, pastors are prime candidates for relational isolation, emotional turmoil, and moral collapse.

Studies also show that some pastors face unreasonable, even impossible, demands placed on them by their people. I am NOT one of those pastors, thanks to a church that both receives my gifts and embraces my limitations. All in all, the people of Christ Presbyterian Church treat me with extraordinary love and kindness. But, sadly, not all pastors are as lucky as I am.

Dr. Thom Rainer, a leading pastoral ministry guru, once conducted a survey asking church members what they expected from their pastors. Specifically, Dr. Rainer wanted to know the minimum amount of time church members believed their pastors should give each week to various areas of ministry, including prayer, sermon preparation, outreach and evangelism, counseling, administrative tasks, visiting the sick, community involvement, denominational engagement, church meetings, worship services, and so on. On average, the minimum amount of time church members expected their pastors to give to the ministry was 114 hours per week.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Stress, Theology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology), Theology: Scripture

(RNS) Clergy: Stressed Out Anglican Priests Turn To Trade Unions For Support

“It was isolated, insatiably demanding, and I was, on the whole, working without close colleagues.” The role is, “for many, quite overwhelming and exhausting…” [Archbp Justin Welby] said.

This kind of pressure may well explain why increasing numbers of his priests in the Church of England are seeking help outside the church for their problems. Faced with demanding congregations, rarely being off duty, piles of paperwork and disciplinary procedures they often feel are unfair, priests are turning instead to trade unions for support.

According to one of Britain’s largest unions, Unite, there has been a rapid increase in the past year in the number of Anglican parish priests, or vicars, joining its specialist faith worker branch. Almost 1,500 priests plus a few rabbis and imams joined the union last year — an increase of 16 per cent in 12 months.

The Anglican vicars are joining despite not having the usual British employment rights, because they are termed “officeholders” and cannot take their complaints to an employment tribunal. And while they cannot pursue rights they don’t have as members of Unite, they can seek counsel and support there from others familiar with their travails.

According to Rev Peter Hobson, who is head of the priests’ Unite branch, Church of England Clergy Advocates, vicars are turning to the union because they are under pressure from all sides – from the people in the pews and from their bishops.

Read it all.

Posted in Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stress

(NYT) Prozac Nation Is Now the United States of Xanax

This past winter, Sarah Fader, a 37-year-old social media consultant in Brooklyn who has generalized anxiety disorder, texted a friend in Oregon about an impending visit, and when a quick response failed to materialize, she posted on Twitter to her 16,000-plus followers. “I don’t hear from my friend for a day — my thought, they don’t want to be my friend anymore,” she wrote, appending the hashtag #ThisIsWhatAnxietyFeelsLike.

Thousands of people were soon offering up their own examples under the hashtag; some were retweeted more than 1,000 times. You might say Ms. Fader struck a nerve. “If you’re a human being living in 2017 and you’re not anxious,” she said on the telephone, “there’s something wrong with you.”

It was 70 years ago that the poet W.H. Auden published “The Age of Anxiety,” a six-part verse framing modern humankind’s condition over the course of more than 100 pages, and now it seems we are too rattled to even sit down and read something that long (or as the internet would say, tl;dr).

Anxiety has become our everyday argot, our thrumming lifeblood: not just on Twitter (the ur-anxious medium, with its constant updates), but also in blogger diaries, celebrity confessionals (Et tu, Beyoncé?), a hit Broadway show (“Dear Evan Hansen”), a magazine start-up (Anxy, a mental-health publication based in Berkeley, Calif.), buzzed-about television series (like “Maniac,” a coming Netflix series by Cary Fukunaga, the lauded “True Detective” director) and, defying our abbreviated attention spans, on bookshelves.

Read it all.

Posted in Drugs/Drug Addiction, Psychology, Stress

(Dow Jones new 2017 site Moneyish) Millennials are going bald from too much stress

At age 18, John figured out he was balding from a photo on Facebook.

Growing up, John — now a 28-year-old San Francisco public relations professional who asked that we withhold his real name — prided himself on his luscious locks. “I had always had a thick, full head of hair — I’m of Middle Eastern/Jewish ancestry,” he says. “That was closely associated with my identity.” But as a freshman in college, he discovered that he was losing his hair when a friend posted a photo of him on Facebook. “I was kind of stunned. It was really brutal,” he says, noting it was the thinning hair around his temples that gave it away. “I just assumed [balding] was something that magically happened at 45.”

For Mabel it was a clogged shower drain that alerted her to the problem. Already stressed by the pressures of college (she was a premed major and had picked up a minor), and feeling homesick for her family in Hawaii, Mabel, then 19, says the hair loss was devastating. “I thought, oh my god, am I really losing my hair,” she says. “It was crushing. Hair is a very feminine thing.”

Experts say they’re seeing more people like John and Mabel: men and women as young as 18 who are freaking out about going bald. San Francisco dermatologist Andrea Hui says balding millennials are coming to her more than ever, asking her for everything from natural supplements like Nutrafol to more invasive procedures like PRP, which involves injecting your own plasma into your scalp.

Read it all.

Posted in Health & Medicine, Stress, Young Adults

(NC Reporter) Irish RC priest warns of depression among overworked clerics

Irish priests’ ever-increasing workload is threatening to turn this aging, demoralized and declining group into “sacrament-dispensing machines” who find pastoral work less and less satisfying, a co-founder of Ireland’s Association of Catholic Priests has warned.
In his address to the association’s annual general meeting in Athlone Nov. 16, Fr. Brendan Hoban highlighted how suicide is on the rise among Irish priests, a group he said was also increasingly prone to depression.

With the vast majority of Irish priests now age 70 or over, elderly diocesan priests are living increasingly isolated and lonely lives and are constantly “reminded that we no longer really matter, that at best we’re now little more than a ceremonial presence on the sidelines of life,” he said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Health & Medicine, Ireland, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Stress

(NYT) In a Marine battalion stalked by suicide, veterans struggle to save one another

After the sixth suicide in his old battalion, Manny Bojorquez sank onto his bed. With a half-empty bottle of Jim Beam beside him and a pistol in his hand, he began to cry.

He had gone to Afghanistan at 19 as a machine-gunner in the Marine Corps. In the 18 months since leaving the military, he had grown long hair and a bushy mustache. It was 2012. He was working part time in a store selling baseball caps and going to community college while living with his parents in the suburbs of Phoenix. He rarely mentioned the war to friends and family, and he never mentioned his nightmares.

He thought he was getting used to suicides in his old infantry unit, but the latest one had hit him like a brick: Joshua Markel, a mentor from his fire team, who had seemed unshakable. In Afghanistan, Corporal Markel volunteered for extra patrols and joked during firefights. Back home Mr. Markel appeared solid: a job with a sheriff’s office, a new truck, a wife and time to hunt deer with his father. But that week, while watching football on TV with friends, he had wordlessly gone into his room, picked up a pistol and killed himself. He was 25.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Children, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Psychology, Stress, Suicide, Theology

(ABC Nightline) With Generic Prescription Drug Prices Surging, Families Are Feeling the Squeeze

When Tricia Salese called her local pharmacy for a price check on her next prescription refill, she was stunned when the pharmacist told her the cost of her generic-brand pain medication had gone up again.

Salese, 49, started talking fentanyl citrate, the generic version of Actiq, a powerful painkiller, in 2010, and she takes three doses per day. Back then, she said, the price per dose was 50 cents. Now, the pharmacist told her when she called, it was going to cost her $37.49 per dose.

“I thought $25 [per dose for generics] was a lot. $37 is just– What is this stuff made of? I mean, this is ridiculous,” Salese said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Personal Finance, Psychology, Stress, Theology

([London] Times) Lethal self-harm–Why are teenage boys so prone to severe depression?

We can only imagine the agony of Edward Mallen’s parents, for whom “a normal Monday afternoon became a horrifying nightmare where one is staring into this appalling abyss of grief” when police knocked on their door last week to say that their 18-year-old son had been killed by a train. Intelligent, gifted, kind and humble, head boy twice over ”” by all accounts, Edward was a remarkable young man. Twelve A*s at GCSE, a place at Cambridge to read geography, grade eight at piano and popular.

Yet shortly after Christmas depression consumed him. His father said: “Often there is a trigger, some trauma, but there didn’t seem to be in this case. My son had a sickness ”” a biological sickness ”” that overtook him very rapidly. It happened over six to eight weeks.” The shocking fact is that this is not an isolated incident. Talking to experts and parents, I get a sense that self-harm, a destructive way of coping with emotional pain, has reached epidemic proportions.

According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ 2010 report on public mental health, half of those who suffer mental-health problems in adult life display difficulties by the age of 14. Three quarters of mental illness is present by the mid-twenties. While three times as many women as men attempt suicide, Office for National Statistics figures show that 78 per cent of suicides in 2013 were male (up from 63 per cent in 1981).

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Education, England / UK, Health & Medicine, Men, Psychology, Stress, Suicide, Teens / Youth

([London] Times) Generation medication–Why do so many young people turn to antidepressants?

In the past ten years, the number of teenagers with depression has doubled, according to the mental health charity YoungMinds. If you listen to parents of teenagers, they all seem to have a story of someone they know ”“ a family at a loss about how to deal with their child’s depression. The figures seem to back up the anecdotal evidence. One in ten children and young people aged between five and sixteen suffers from a diagnosable mental-health disorder ”“ the easiest way to imagine this is around three children in every class in Britain. Around 7 per cent of British teenagers have tried to kill or harm themselves, yet only 6 per cent of the mental health budget is spent on under- eighteens. One of the most alarming statistics is the number of admissions to A&E departments for self-harm: over the past ten years, it has increased by 68 per cent. One expert tells me there is an “epidemic” of cutting.

Without help, the majority of children with mental-health problems go on to become mentally ill as adults. This is, Marjorie Wallace, the chief executive of the charity SANE, tells me, “the age of desperation”.

“If you really listen to what some of these young people are saying, there is a huge element of despair,” says Wallace. “Growing up has always been difficult, but the sense of desperation? That is new. There is a degree of alienation in this generation. There is no sense of belonging. They are much more isolated, partly due to social media. They are not connected to community, to families, to siblings, and that brings more disillusionment.” For Wallace, the dramatic rise in reports of self-harm is indicative of the amount of distress. “It is not a cry for help. It’s to stop themselves from doing something much worse.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Drugs/Drug Addiction, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Mental Illness, Psychology, Stress, Suicide, Teens / Youth, Theology, Young Adults

(RNS) Rick Warren to pastors: ”˜There is no testimony without a test’

Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Southern California, urged his fellow Southern Baptist pastors to draw close to others when they are suffering. He said a small group of men were on the scene within half an hour to comfort him when Matthew died. They were the same people he met with in their times of crises.

“The more intense the pain, the fewer words you should use,” he said. “You need to show up and shut up.”

As Warren closed his sermon, he knelt before the crowd and invited pastors to come forward for prayer if they were suffering with someone who is mentally ill or if they were facing other problems.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Baptists, Children, Evangelicals, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Stress, Suicide, Young Adults

(WSJ) U.S. Household Debt Increases (and make sure not to miss the Picture on student loan debt)

Americans made more progress in repairing their postrecession finances and have increased their overall borrowing, yet they are also showing an aversion to credit cards and new mortgages that could hinder the economic recovery.

Household debt””including mortgages, credit cards, auto loans and student loans””rose $129 billion between January and March to $11.65 trillion, new figures from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York showed Tuesday. That was the third consecutive quarterly increase.

Behind the uptick: Mortgage balances””which make up the bulk of U.S. household debt””rose $116 billion to $8.2 trillion, thanks in part to fewer people going into foreclosure, which drags down mortgage debt. Auto-loan balances grew $12 billion to $875 billion. Student-loan balances increased $31 billion to $1.1 trillion, maintaining its place as the fastest-growing debt category.

Read it all and the picture of the incredible graph on student loan explosion is there.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family, Personal Finance, Psychology, Stress, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology

(AP) At Fort Bragg, N.C, a Therapy dog helps troops deal with postwar stress

After three deployments to Iraq and three to Afghanistan, Staff Sgt. Dennis Swols is agitated, prone to bouts of anger and unable to really talk about his time on the battlefield.

But as Swols sits in a small office in the Robinson Health Clinic at Fort Bragg, his hand drops to the furry head beside him and his mood brightens. Settled at his feet, Lexy, a 5-year-old German shepherd, gives Swols a few moments of distraction.

It’s her job. And, according to Swols, she’s good at it.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, Animals, Anthropology, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Stress, Theology

(Washington Post) 4 Dead, many Injured in Fort Hood Shooting

The shooting was the third major gun attack at a U.S. military installation in five years, leaving the nation grappling with the prospect of yet more flag-draped funerals for troops killed on the homefront. A government contractor went on a shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard in September, leaving 12 people dead. In 2009, Army Maj. Nidal M. Hasan opened fire on a group of soldiers at Fort Hood preparing to deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan, killing 13 people and wounding more than 30.

Doctors at the Scott & White hospital in Temple, Tex., said Wednesday that they have treated eight of the wounded and that one more was on the way. Three of the patients were in critical condition in the ICU, and five were in serious condition. Seven of them were male, and one was female. Their injuries ranged from mild to life-threatening, a majority of them caused by single-gunshot wounds to the neck, chest and abdomen.

President Obama said he was “heartbroken that something like this might have happened again.” Speaking during a fundraising trip to Chicago, he pledged “to get to the bottom of exactly what happened.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Iraq War, Mental Illness, Military / Armed Forces, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Stress, Theology, Violence

Gallup Business Journal–Easing the Global (and Costly) Problem of Workplace Stress

Gallup Business Journal: Why has psychological injury become such a concern in the workplace?

Damian Byers, Ph.D.: Health and safety in the workplace is often looked at from a cost point of view. Psychological injury has become a well-recognized category of injury, and the rate of increase is skyrocketing. So the people who are most vociferous about managing it tend to be the finance people. And because of the risk exposure associated with any kind of injury, there’s often interest from [corporate] boards as well. But they’re usually interested in aggregated macro lag indicators, such as lost-time injury frequency rate or other kinds of overall incident rate indicators, not individual cases.

The problem is that boards and finance people are a long way from the day-to-day work of a line manager. Line managers don’t see the cost of psychological injury, but they’re accountable for it because they’re accountable for team performance. And because the metrics of injury are macro lag indicators, they don’t guide decisions or change behaviors for anybody. Lagging indicators don’t tell people what they need to do.

What causes psychological injuries?

Dr. Byers: It’s almost always [the result of] a failure of management practice and process, particularly a breakdown in the management relationship. In most of the cases that I have analyzed in the organizations that I have worked in, we’re talking about bad manager-worker relationships and a well-established, unproductive, poisonous dynamic within a team. These dynamics are the result of poor people management practices and often poor people management tools and policies. The remedy there is well and truly in the hands of senior line managers.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Psychology, Stress, Theology

(L. Times) 1/5 of young marrieds admit removing wedding ring before going out for the evening

Now you see it, now you don’t. It is the quickest way to invite suspicion, but a fifth of young married couples have admitted to removing their wedding ring before going out with friends or after a row.

A study of 2,000 couples found that men and women were more likely to wear a wedding ring today than in previous generations. However, the study also showed the flipside of these displays of fidelity ”” that if more people are willing to wear them, there will be more disgruntled couples willing to whip them off.

One in five people under 40 admitted to having taken off their wedding ring during marital strife. Men were most likely to take their ring off before socialising, and women were more likely to remove it after a fight.

Read it all (subscription required).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Stress, Theology, Young Adults

University of Minnesota Football Coach Jerry Kill Makes a Difficult, but Prudent, Call

…what happened late last week was not minor. Kill did not feel well as Minnesota prepared to leave for Michigan, and he stayed behind, and he hoped, right up until he had another seizure, that he would be able to fly to Ann Arbor on Saturday morning and lead his team to a statement win.

Only he did have another seizure. He stayed home. This was the first time he had not attended a game at all because of a seizure. And it was his fifth seizure on a game day and his second one this season.

Kill and the Minnesota football program did the right thing in light of all that Thursday. They did the right thing for the team, but more important ”” way, way more important ”” they did the right thing for Kill. When he can coach, he should. Until then, his health is more important. More coaches should consider that.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Sports, Stress, Theology, Young Adults

A Superb NY Times Profile Article of U of Minnesota Coach Jerry Kill: Seizures Are Mere Distractions

The formula never changed: demand discipline, emphasize recruiting and increase resources. It was simple, but it also worked.

At Southern Illinois, Kill & Company saved a program on the verge of being dropped. They beat Indiana on the road. Kill drove into the rural communities near Southern Illinois and persuaded fans to return, one handshake at a time. When Mike Reis, the Salukis’ veteran play-by-play announcer, spent weeks in the hospital for colon surgery, Kill visited daily. When the university offered him a raise, he spread the money among his assistants.

At Northern Illinois, Kill and his crew replaced Joe Novak and began another turnaround. In his interview, Kill told Novak and Jim Phillips, now the athletic director at Northwestern, about the seizures and said he had a handle on them. Phillips said Kill’s health did not factor “an iota” into his decision.

Even then, a Big Ten job seemed far away. What school would take that kind of chance?

Read it all (Hat tip: Elizabeth Harmon).

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, Education, Eschatology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Sports, Stress, Theology, Young Adults

(USA Today) From pet therapy to yoga, schools address kids' stress

As school counselor Jennifer VonLintel gears up for the start of the school year at B.F. Kitchen Elementary School, there are new students to enroll, files to update and schedules to plan ”” including the schedule for Copper, her registered therapy dog and a popular presence in the hallways of the Loveland, Colo., school.

Three days a week, the 3-year-old golden retriever’s assignments can include mingling with kids during recess, being assigned to students who struggle with reading or math anxiety, and providing general companionship and support in the classroom, during counseling office visits, and during after-school programs. Any time a friendly, furry face can provide an extra measure of comfort and assurance, says VonLintel.

When there’s a death in a family or a child receives bad news, “with the parents’ permission, we’ll introduce Copper to the situation,” she says. “Kids find comfort in petting him, and sometimes the parents do, too. ”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Animals, Anthropology, Children, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Psychology, Stress, Theology

MUST NOT MISS–ESPN's Tom Rinaldi Tells the Inspiring Story of the Saratoga WarHorse Program

Warrior and Warhorse from The Seventh Movement on Vimeo.

Saratoga Springs, N.Y., famous for its historic racetrack, is among the most idyllic places in America. But on a recent fall weekend, not far from the track, horses were serving a different mission: retired thoroughbreds were recruited to help returning veterans at Song Hill Farm. A group from the US Army 2nd Battalion, 135th infantry, united in grief over the death of a fellow solider, gathered for the first time in five years to be part of Saratoga Warhorse, a three-day program that pairs veterans with horses. Tom Rinaldi reports the emotional story of the veterans, paired with their horses, undergoing a rebirth of trust and taking a first step toward healing.

Watch it all, and, yes, you will likely need kleenex–KSH.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, Animals, Death / Burial / Funerals, Defense, National Security, Military, Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Stress

(Sunday Telegraph) Katharine Welby speaks for the first time about her battle with depression

When the news broke that her father was about to be appointed Archbishop of Canterbury, Katharine Welby found herself in floods of tears.

“I ended up crying and crying,” she says, but not because she didn’t want her dad to get the job….

Her weeping was caused by depression. The illness is “a constant struggle” in her life and creates moments of crisis in which she wants to “run away and hide in a hole”. In the past, it has brought her to the brink of suicide.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Children, England / UK, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Stress, Suicide, Young Adults

(LA Times) At one Army base, an aggressive campaign against suicide

Army Pvt. John Jeffery stumbled into Kyle Boswell’s barracks room at Ft. Bliss before dawn one day in February, his eyes glassy.

“I’ve done something,” Jeffery mumbled to his buddy. “I can’t tell anyone. It’s going to happen.”

He had just learned his girlfriend was cheating on him. The Army had decided to kick him out for using heroin. Now the 21-year-old veteran of Afghanistan had downed more than two bottles of Vicodin and Oxycodone, powerful prescription painkillers. Boswell rushed him to the emergency room, and he remains in the hospital psychiatric ward.

The case is a success of sorts ”” a soldier treated, a suicide prevented ”” and it reflects an encouraging shift at Ft. Bliss….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Stress, Suicide, Theology