Category : Stress

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

(NY Times) Children Can Usually Recover From Emotional Trauma

For young people exposed to gun trauma ”” like the students of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. ”” the road to recovery can be long and torturous, marked by anxiety, nightmares, school trouble and even substance abuse. Witnessing lethal violence ruptures a child’s sense of security, psychiatrists say, leaving behind an array of emotional and social challenges that are not easily resolved.

But the good news is that most of these children will probably heal.

“Most kids, even of this age, are resilient,” said Dr. Glenn Saxe, chairman of child and adolescent psychiatry at NYU Langone Medical Center. “The data shows that the majority of people after a trauma, including a school assault, will end up doing O.K.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Children, Health & Medicine, History, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Stress, Theology, Violence, Young Adults

(Washington Post) In downward-spiraling Europe, rate of ”˜economic suicides’ explodes

In Greece, which is in its fifth year of recession, such suicides have sparked violent clashes between police and those opposing austerity who have held the victims up as martyrs. In Italy, widows of businessmen who have committed suicide ”” such as builder Giuseppe Campaniello, who set himself on fire outside a government tax office in Bologna on March 28 after his company collapsed ”” have held demonstrations. And in Ireland, where citizens are jumping off quays in Dublin, Cork and Limerick in alarming numbers, the mobile telephone company Vodaphone volunteered to give up the stadium advertising space it bought at soccer and hurling games for a suicide prevention campaign.

So many people have been killing themselves and leaving behind notes citing financial hardship that European media outlets have a special name for them: “economic suicides.” Surveys are also showing increasing signs of mental stress: a jump in the use of antidepressants and illicit drugs, a rise in depression and anxiety among workers worried about salary cuts or being laid off, and an increase in the use of sick leave due to psychological problems.

“People are more and more uncertain about their future, which is leading to a sharp rise in mental health problems,” said Maria Nyman, director of Brussels-based Mental Health Europe, a multinational coalition of mental health organizations and educational institutions.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Death / Burial / Funerals, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Globalization, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Stress, Suicide, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

After the Great Recession, Many American Workers Are Underemployed and Underpaid

These are anxious days for American workers. Many, like Ms. [Sherry] Woods, are underemployed. Others find pay that is simply not keeping up with their expenses: adjusted for inflation, the median hourly wage was lower in 2011 than it was a decade earlier, according to data from a forthcoming book by the Economic Policy Institute, “The State of Working America, 12th Edition.” Good benefits are harder to come by, and people are staying longer in jobs that they want to leave, afraid that they will not be able to find something better. Only 2.1 million people quit their jobs in March, down from the 2.9 million people who quit in December 2007, the first month of the recession.

“Unfortunately, the wage problems brought on by the recession pile on top of a three-decade stagnation of wages for low- and middle-wage workers,” said Lawrence Mishel, the president of the Economic Policy Institute, a research group in Washington that studies the labor market. “In the aftermath of the financial crisis, there has been persistent high unemployment as households reduced debt and scaled back purchases. The consequence for wages has been substantially slower growth across the board, including white-collar and college-educated workers.”

Now, with the economy shaping up as the central issue of the presidential election, both President Obama and Mitt Romney have been relentlessly trying to make the case that their policies would bring prosperity back. The unease of voters is striking: in a New York Times/CBS News poll in April, half of the respondents said they thought the next generation of Americans would be worse off, while only about a quarter said it would have a better future.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, History, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Psychology, Stress, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(NPR) A Rest Stop On The Road From Soldier To Civilian

For many soldiers, the main objective here isn’t getting help. It’s getting home.

“You get excited about being in the United States, but then you realize you’ve got be here for, like, five days, and that’s even more depressing,” says Spc. Jonathan Remkus just outside his barracks. “I’m basically checked out right now. I’m already considered a civilian, trapped in a military uniform.”

But leaving Camp Atterbury requires checking a lot of boxes on a lot of forms. Members of the 182nd work their way through a maze of assessments, filling out stacks of paperwork as they go.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Defense, National Security, Military, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Stress, War in Afghanistan

Sunday Afternoon Music–Laura Story's "Blessings"

I don’t think much of a lot of contemporary Christian music, but this song is a glaring exception. I thought of it in part because it was done during the offertory at worship this morning where I serve (Christ Saint Paul’s, Yonges Island, S.C.) Take the time to listen to it all and to take in some of the circumstances that led to the writing of the song–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Music, Other Churches, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Stress

'Anxious society' a challenge for the Church, Anglican Leaders Told

An annual conference of Anglican bishops in Newcastle has been told the church is even more relevant during times of natural disasters.

The past few months has been described as an ‘onslaught of disaster’ with the Queensland floods, West Australian fires and New Zealand’s double tragedies of the Pike River mine disaster and Christchurch earthquake.

Newcastle Bishop, Brian Farran says in Brisbane, unaffected parishes were critical in providing support to those in the flood zone.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Stress

(AP) Commander: U.S. Special Ops Forces Are Stressed

The elite troops of U.S. special operations forces are showing signs of fraying after nearly 10 years at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, their commander said Tuesday.

Adm. Eric T. Olson says that while the number of special operations forces has doubled to about 60,000 over the last nine years, the total of those deployed overseas has quadrupled. Roughly 6,500 special operators are in Afghanistan and about 3,500 are in Iraq, though those numbers can vary as units move in and out of the war zone.

Olson said the demand for the specialized units in Afghanistan is insatiable, forcing troops to deploy to war at a rate that is off the charts. And he said he does not see that demand declining in the next several years.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, Health & Medicine, Iraq War, Military / Armed Forces, Psychology, Stress, War in Afghanistan

(AP) Chaplains try a new path to deal with PTSD

A Colorado theology school is teaching Air Force chaplains to consider the religious beliefs of servicemen and women to better help them cope with post-traumatic stress.

The goal is to build trust so a chaplain can encourage service members to draw on their individual concepts of God and spirituality, said Carrie Doehring, an associate professor of pastoral care at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver.
Doehring helped develop the one-year program for the Air Force, which wanted another way for its chaplains to respond to the stress of deployments amid two protracted wars.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, Iraq War, Military / Armed Forces, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Stress, War in Afghanistan

(NY Times) Record Level of Stress Found in College Freshmen

The emotional health of college freshmen ”” who feel buffeted by the recession and stressed by the pressures of high school ”” has declined to the lowest level since an annual survey of incoming students started collecting data 25 years ago.

In the survey, “The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2010,” involving more than 200,000 incoming full-time students at four-year colleges, the percentage of students rating themselves as “below average” in emotional health rose. Meanwhile, the percentage of students who said their emotional health was above average fell to 52 percent. It was 64 percent in 1985.

Every year, women had a less positive view of their emotional health than men, and that gap has widened.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Health & Medicine, Psychology, Stress, Young Adults