Jim Denison on Pastor and Mental Health Advocate Jarrid Wilson Committing Suicide

Jarrid Wilson, a well-known church leader, author, and mental health advocate, died by suicide Monday evening.

Wilson and his wife co-founded the mental health nonprofit Anthem of Hope. He was open about his own depression, often posting on social media about his struggles with mental illness. He blogged earlier this summer that he had dealt with “severe depression throughout most of my life and contemplated suicide on multiple occasions.”

Wilson was recently an associate pastor at Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California. Harvest Senior Pastor Greg Laurie said, “At a time like this, there are just no words.”

“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,” Laurie added. “At the end of the day, pastors are just people who need to reach out to God for his help and strength, each and every day.”

So do we all.

A SUICIDE EVERY FORTY SECONDS

Jarrid Wilson’s death came one day before World Suicide Prevention Day. While suicide is the tenth leading cause of death among the general American population, it is the second leading cause of death for young people between the ages of ten and twenty-four. Suicide rates in the US have increased more than 25 percent since 1999.

The World Health Organization estimates a global suicide rate of one death every forty seconds. By next year, they predict someone will take their life every twenty seconds.

If you or someone you know might be at risk of suicide, please call 1-800-273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. It provides confidential, free support twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. You can also call this number to talk to someone about how to help a person in crisis.

ALL IN CHRIST ARE A “NEW CREATION”

My purpose this morning is not only to encourage those who might be at risk of suicide to get help immediately but also to counter the stigma of mental health illness in the evangelical Christian community.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in four Americans suffers from some kind of mental illness in any given year. However, few churches have plans to assist families affected by mental illness or provide staff counselors skilled in mental illness. One reason is the stigma and culture of silence that exists on this issue.

Let me be as clear as possible: those suffering from mental illness, like those suffering from any other kind of illness, deserve our best support, medical resources, and encouragement. There is nothing sinful about suffering from depression, any more than it is sinful to suffer from heart disease.

Nor should we limit our response to those suffering from mental illness to prayer and encouragement, any more than we would for cancer patients. Many people who face depression and other mental illnesses suffer from physiological conditions that require medical treatment. And all deserve the best resources available.

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Source: Christian Headlines