AN AMERICAN megachurch pastor who ran a mental health charity has killed himself hours after tweeting “Jesus doesn’t always cure suicidal thoughts”.
Popular Californian mental health advocate Jarrid Wilson took his own life on Monday night, a church official said.
Jarrid, 30, an associate pastor at the megachurch Harvest Christian Fellowship, died by suicide on Monday, announced Greg Laurie, a senior pastor at the church.
Harvest was launched in Riverside, California in 1973. It now has 15,000 people and hosts large-scale evangelistic events.
Jarrid, a dad-of-two, had spoken openly about his struggle with depression and his desire to help others.
On his website he said he believed that “our society and culture are in need of a great awakening in regards to priorities and mental health awareness”.
Jarrid and his wife Juli founded outreach group “Anthem of Hope” in 2016 to help people coping with depression, addiction and suicidal thoughts.
The group sought to end the stigma of mental illness and connect people to resources including a 24-hour crisis line.
Jarrid died a day before World Suicide Prevention Day, which he had posted about on his Twitter feed.
His wife paid tribute to him on Instagram on Tuesday, where she shared the last video taken of him.
Juli said: “Can’t sleep, so I’m watching this video over and over again.
“I took this Monday evening around 7.30pm at our son’s baseball practice.
“By 11.45 that night, my sweet husband was in the presence of Jesus.
“I love you Jarrid. I miss you beyond what my heart can stand. Thank you for loving our boys and I with the greatest passion and selflessness I’ve ever seen or felt in my entire life.”
She added: “I love you forever, Thomas Jarrid Wilson, but I have to say that you being gone has completely ripped my heart out of my chest. You loved me and our boys relentlessly.
“Suicide doesn’t get the last word. I won’t let it.”
Jarrid’s Twitter account shows that he had been suffering ill health for a fortnight prior to his death, as he was “fighting a cough, sore throat and losing my voice in-and-out for the last two weeks. Feels like I’m swallowing daggers.”
Despite feeling poorly, Jarrid was still trying to help others and speaking out about mental health.
He tweeted on September 8: “I can’t help but notice the vast amount of articles regarding the hardship, brokenness and pain many encounter while being in ministry and/or being a pastor.
“If this is truly the case, why does most of the church still ignore the conversation surrounding mental health?”
The next day, he officiated at a “funeral for a Jesus-loving woman who took her own life”.
He was vibrant, positive, and was always serving and helping others.
Greg Laurie, senior pastor, Harvest Christian Fellowship
On September 9, in one of his final tweets before he died, Jarrid said: “Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure suicidal thoughts. Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure depression.
“Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure PTSD… but that doesn’t mean Jesus doesn’t offer us companionship and comfort.”
Greg Laurie wrote: “It is with the deepest sadness and shock that I have to report that @jarridwilson went to be with the Lord last night.
“He was vibrant, positive, and was always serving and helping others.
“Jarrid also repeatedly dealt with depression and was very open about his ongoing struggles.
“He wanted to especially help those who were dealing with suicidal thoughts. Tragically, Jarrid took his own life.
“At a time like this, there are just no words. The Bible says, ‘There is a time to mourn.’ This is certainly that time.”
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Greg said that Jarrid’s death was a reminder that spiritual leaders also struggle.
He wrote: “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.”
YOU'RE NOT ALONE
EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.
It doesn’t discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.
It’s the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.
And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.
Yet it’s rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
That is why The Sun launched the You’re Not Alone campaign.
The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.
Let’s all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You’re Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
- CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
- Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
- Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
- Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
- Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123
- Movember, www.uk.movember.com