Archbishop of Canterbury Under Dr’s Care for Depression

Archbishop Under Doctor’s Care for Depression

The Most Revd Justin Welby has acknowledged being under a physician’s care for depression.

He spoke of his struggle in an interview with the Radio Times whilst promoting his new BBC Radio 4 programme, The Archbishop Interviews.

He told Radio Times, 

“There’s an end to darkness. There’s light but you might be surprised by how it comes.”

Discussing his life-long struggle with depression, the Archbishop said:

I’m on daily antidepressants, which work quite well, but it is a struggle. Certain things trigger it, principally about myself, and sometimes it comes out of the blue. But it’s a lot better than it used to be …The important stage was recognising it with the help of one of my children – and getting help.”   Tragically, the Archbishop lost a seven-month old daughter in an automobile accident in 1983.

Various studies have shown that clergy are just as likely to struggle with depression as the laity.  The NHS has mental health hotlines available for those who struggle with depression.

He admitted that he may have made the wrong move in closing churches during the Covid Pandemic.  He said, “It wasn’t just me. It’s not a dictatorship. I am not the Pope. But I had an influence and I’m not sure I got that right.”  He continued, “If I had the time again, I would be more cautious about closing the churches.”  

The Archbishop did not mention whether or not he was sorry over threatening clergy with CDMs if they went into their church buildings in 2020.  

The Revd James Paice, Vicar of St Luke’s, Wimbledon was one of the clergy who publicly disagreed with the Archbishop in 2020.  When asked his thoughts, he replied, “The apology is welcome but the error may have been fatal for many smaller congregations who have not been able to rebuild.  Let us pray that our next Archbishop makes spiritual rather than simply pragmatic decisions.”

The Archbishop Interviews can be found online on the BBC Sounds App or listen to them on Radio 4 at 13:30 on Sunday afternoons.  

Welby is the host for six episodes of The Archbishop Interviews.  Tony Blair, Stephen King, Psychologist Dr Susan Blackmore, Clare Moriarty, General Sir Nick Carter, and British-Turkish novelist, Elif Shafak will be his guests.