Increase in Welsh clergy and ministers attending counselling

Guto Llywelyn
Image caption Guto Llywelyn suffered from stress, anxiety and panic attacks

The number of clergy members and ministers attending counselling sessions across Wales is on the rise.

Cynnal, a counselling service for clergy and their families, took over counselling from the Church of Wales.

Five years ago, two people attended the counselling service by the Church of Wales. Now, more than 70 attend Cynnal sessions across Wales.

Wynford Ellis Owen, chief executive of Living Room Cardiff, said clergy were "human like the rest of us".

Newyddion 9 spoke with Guto Llywelyn, a minister at Tabernacle Chapel in Whitland, Carmarthenshire.

He said: "After being a minister for five years, I suddenly suffered stress, anxiety and panic attacks in the pulpit. I couldn't read the Bible in front of me.

"I then heard about Cynnal and after three sessions, Wynford Ellis Owen told me that it was trauma from 30 years ago, from the death of my mother through suicide. It was a great shock."

Image caption Wynford Elis Owen oversees and delivers counseeling for Cynnal

Mr Ellis Owen said: "Clergy are perceived as people who don't have problems. They are the ones we go to when we have problems.

"But they are human like the rest of us and sometimes, under pressure, their problems - and those they are helping others with - can come to the fore."

The sessions are held in Colwyn Bay, Caernarfon and Wrexham, with the most recent held in Carmarthen.

The service is due to expand to include Aberystwyth in the near future.

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