Date of Award

Fall 2023

Document Type



College of Behavioral and Social Sciences

Primary Advisor

Professor Melanie Bergeron


Pastoral care and responsibilities come with a particular weight that can feel overwhelming at times for those engaged in ministry. In a world where mental health seems to be making all the headlines, there appears to be an overall lack of conversation surrounding the emotional well-being of clergy. This thesis aims to create a more holistic perception of mental health among ministerial leaders and pinpoint preventative measures that can be put in place to protect the hearts and minds of pastors as they fulfill the callings on their lives. In conducting this research, a mixed-method survey was completed by twenty-one participants in which questions were answered surrounding perception of and interaction with mental health in their ministerial careers. The results of this study implied that there are gaps pertaining to awareness, counseling, and familial implications in regards to pastoral well-being. Looking forward, preventative measures such as shifts in curriculum, access to counseling, and implementation of regular self-care practices can lead to reduced burnout among ministerial leaders and help point to a happier, healthier life-style.