Utah religious leaders say mental health of clergy is a priority

Feb 2, 2022, 10:08 AM
Catholic confessional bill...
FILE: Image of the Catholic confessional (Photo credit: Getty Images).
(Photo credit: Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — Clergy members are the men and women who are often tasked with helping congregants and sometimes even strangers make their way through periods of sadness and depression.

Still those feelings, and other mental health issues, are not rare among the clergy themselves. And that has become even more apparent during the two-year pandemic that continues to bear down on people of all groups.

A wake-up call came when a Catholic Priest in South Carolina died by suicide in 2020 after finding out he was diagnosed with COVID-19. It raised concerns among church leadership about the mental health of their priests.

“We don’t want people just withdrawing into their house, closing the door and the drapes, turning off all the lights, and having suicidal tendencies,” said Father Kenneth Valpaindo with the Utah Catholic Diocese.

Catholic priests are not allowed to marry, but Father Valpaindo said that doesn’t mean they do not have family support. He says siblings and extended family can provide just as much support as a spouse does.

And Catholic priests, just as the Catholic community, can take advantage of professional services that are made available through the church.

Leaders in Utah’s Presbyterian community say they found ways to provide emotional support to their clergy.

“At the onset of the pandemic, when everything was closed, we were sharing with each other,” said Candice Sweet with the Presbyterian Church in Utah. “We’d send out questions, ‘what are you doing, what do you need?’ We’ve always been very supportive.”

Sweet says she has not heard of any reports of severe depression among their clergy and says pastors in the Presbyterian Church have been able to form strong bonds in their respective communities even in remote towns — which has helped them get through the pandemic.

Simone Seikaly contributed.



We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

a woman walks through a snowy park, this winter has been good for utah drought conditions...
Adam Small

Utah drought conditions see “significant” improvement

This winter -- and our wintery spring -- has Utah drought conditions looking better than they have since June 2020. But we're not out of the woods yet.
13 hours ago
Ike Yospe

KSL NewsRadio employees win Gracie Award

SALT LAKE CITY — KSL NewsRadio host Debbie Dujanovic and producer Caitlyn Johnston have been recognized by the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation as 2023 Gracie Award winners. Their radio special, “Genetics and Genealogy: How to use testing and family history to decode your risk for cancer” won “Best Interview Feature — Talk” in […]
13 hours ago
The U.S. Dept. of Labor assessed nearly $17,000 in penalties to Standard Restaurant and Supply in S...
Logan Stefanich

Utah company with ties to polygamous group cited for violating child labor laws

A federal investigation found the company allowed 22 underage employees to work 40+ hours a week, and to begin work after midnight.
13 hours ago
A timed entry reservation system begins on April 1 at Arches National Park in Moab. And it will con...
Simone Seikaly

Arches visit will require reservation April 1 through October 31, 2023

Reservations will be required to enter Arches every day between the hours of 7 a.m. and 4 p.m, April 1 through October 31, 2023.
13 hours ago
A train hauling ethanol derailed Thursday morning in Raymond, Minnesota, igniting several rail cars...
Tina Burnside and Holly Yan, CNN

Homes evacuated after train carrying ethanol derails, catches fire in Minnesota

Preliminary information suggests 14 of the train's 40 cars were carrying hazardous material according to US officials.
13 hours ago
Emergency responders are seen near a site where two military helicopters crashed Wednesday night du...
The Associated Press

Nine soldiers killed after Army helicopters crash in Kentucky

A statement from Fort Campbell says the HH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, part of the 101st Airborne, crashed around 10 p.m. Wednesday in Trigg County, Kentucky.
13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Cheerful young woman writing an assignment while sitting at desk between two classmates during clas...
BYU EMBA at the Marriott School of Business

Hear it Firsthand: 6 Students Share Their Executive MBA Experience at BYU’s Marriott School of Business

The Executive MBA program at BYU offers great opportunities. Hear experiences straight from students enrolled in the program.
Skier being towed by a rider on a horse. Skijoring....
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking for a new winter activity? Try skijoring in Bear Lake

Skijoring is when someone on skis is pulled by a horse, dog, animal, or motor vehicle. The driver leads the skiers through an obstacle course over jumps, hoops, and gates.
Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five common causes of Cervical Cancer – and what you can do to lower your risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get ready for fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy.
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 easy Christmas dinner ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Utah religious leaders say mental health of clergy is a priority