A popular pastor known for his outspoken advocacy for mental health issues has died by suicide.
Jarrid Wilson, an associate pastor at megachurch Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California, died late Monday, his family and colleagues confirmed. He was 30.
Wilson, a married father of two, had officiated at the funeral of a woman who took her own life just hours before his death.
He and his wife Julianne were the founders of an outreach called Anthem of Hope, intended to help people dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts.
‘At a time like this, there are just no words,’ said Harvest Senior Pastor Greg Laurie in a statement.
Laurie said that Wilson ‘repeatedly dealt with depression and was very open about his ongoing struggles.’
‘Sometimes people may think that as pastors or spiritual leaders we are somehow above the pain and struggles of everyday people. We are the ones who are supposed to have all the answers. But we do not,’ he continued.
Wilson’s death came during National Suicide Prevention Week, and many of his final tweets were on the subject of mental health treatment, urging his followers to seek help if needed.
In a post on Monday, he wrote, ‘Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure suicidal thoughts. Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure depression. Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure PTSD. Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure anxiety. But that doesn’t mean Jesus doesn’t offer us companionship and comfort. He ALWAYS does that.’
Wilson’s final post on Twitter was a retweet of an Anthem of Hope online chat hotline for those struggling with depression, posted at 8.34pm PT on Monday.
His wife has said that by 11.45pm that night, he was dead.
Wilson openly his own mental health challenges in his most recent book, Love Is Oxygen: How God Can Give You Life And Change Your World.
He blogged earlier this summer that he had dealt with “severe depression throughout most of my life and contemplated suicide on multiple occasions.”
His blog post addressed the high-profile suicides of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade, urging Christians to pause before proclaiming that those who kill themselves are condemned by God.
‘Those who say suicide automatically leads to hell obviously don’t understand the totality of mental health issues in today’s world, let alone understand the basic theology behind compassion and God’s all-consuming grace,’ he wrote.
‘Stop telling people that suicide leads to hell. It’s bad theology and proof one doesn’t understand the basic psychology surrounding mental health issues,’ He continued.
Source: Daily Mail