Friday, May 21, 2010

CF chaplains at high risk for anxiety, depression

Canadian military chaplains suffering burnout, compassion fatigue at high rates
Canadian Press: Officials in the chaplaincy office link the elevated stress to the prolonged surge in operational tempo, staff shortages and the strain of tending to families of soldiers killed or injured overseas.

Lt.-Col. Sylvain Maurais, director of chaplaincy services, said... 'We are feeling the same stresses as the rest of the Canadian Forces population... 'The level of ministry that we are providing is quite complex. It's not at all what it used to be.'

The survey, conducted under two years ago but only now being acted upon, found that 52 percent of chaplains were at medium to high risk for anxiety or depressive disorders. That puts them at more than double the normal levels for other Forces members and higher than the civilian population...

Much of that is compounded by the ongoing mission in Afghanistan and the difficult tasks that fall to military padres, who serve six to nine month rotations overseas with troops in Kandahar, and are ministers to families at home... Chaplains have been heavily involved in providing care to next of kin after the death of a soldier, and working with troops to prepare mentally for deployments...

The review also stated that padres were dealing with an increase in domestic issues, particularly at Canadian Forces Base Petawawa were they reported growing concerns from family members about returning [CF] members.
Image source here.