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Colleen DulleNovember 03, 2021
Pope Francis holds white roses as he visits graves at the French Military Cemetery before celebrating Mass for the feast of All Souls at the cemetery in Rome Nov. 2, 2021. (CNS photo/Remo Casilli, Reuters)

Pope Francis has asked the world to join him in praying for people with depression for the month of November, drawing a connection between depression, overwork and burnout.

“Overwork and work-related stress, cause many people to experience extreme exhaustion,” the pope writes. “Sadness, apathy, and spiritual tiredness end up dominating people’s lives, who are overloaded due to the rhythm of life today.”

Pope Francis has asked the world to join him in praying for people with depression for the month of November, drawing a connection between depression, overwork and burnout.

Rates of anxiety, depression and burnout have all been on the rise in recent years, increasing even more sharply during the pandemic. Recent data from a survey by McKinsey & Co. show that 42 percent of women employees and 35 percent of men report feeling burned out “often” or “almost always” at work—an increase of 10 percent and 7 percent, respectively, over 2020’s numbers.

A 2020 study by Boston University researchers found that rates of depression in U.S. adults tripled during the Covid-19 pandemic, with those in more stressful situations more likely to report depression symptoms.

“Let us try to be close to those who are exhausted, to those who are desperate, without hope,” the pope’s prayer intention reads. “Often, we should just simply listen in silence, because we cannot go and tell someone, ‘No, life’s not like that. Listen to me, I’ll give you the solution.’ There’s no solution.”

Pope Francis: “Let us pray that people who suffer from depression or burn-out will find support and a light that opens them up to life.”

The pope’s monthly intentions are published with an accompanying video on The Pope Video, a website run by the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network and supported by Vatican Media. This month’s video was prepared with the help of the Association of Catholic Mental Health Ministers.

In the intention, the pope calls psychological counseling “indispensable,” “useful” and “effective.” It says that in addition to counseling, “Jesus’ words also help. It comes to my mind and heart: ‘Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’”

“Let us pray that people who suffer from depression or burn-out will find support and a light that opens them up to life.”

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