(Durham, NC, Thursday, April 23, 2020) – With support from The Duke Endowment, experts at Duke Divinity School are studying how to improve the health and well-being of clergy in North Carolina, backed by the most comprehensive data available.

Because healthy church leaders are an essential part of healthy communities, a team of pastors are helping researchers explore ways to reduce stress, depression, hypertension and diabetes among members of clergy.

The research focused on strategies to help clergy maintain positive mental health, reduce stress and identify ways parishioners can support clergy.

As Americans cope with the stressors and everyday challenges related to COVID-19, the findings about stress-reduction techniques may be particularly useful for everyone.

The Duke Clergy Health Initiative’s definition of health is wholeness of body, mind and spirit. It seeks to develop a resilient, well-informed cadre of United Methodist pastors as skilled in the care of themselves and their families as they are in the care of their congregations. Through wellness interventions and behavioral health studies, and other programs and resources, the Duke Clergy Health Initiative underscores the theological reasons for caring for oneself and offers strategies to help pastors develop holistic health practices.

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