Megachurch pastor who was known for his work in mental health advocacy kills himself
Jarrid Wilson, a popular pastor known for his work in mental health advocacy at a Southern California megachurch, has died by suicide, Senior Pastor Greg Laurie with Harvest Christian Fellowship Church said in a statement.
Wilson joined the church as an associate pastor last year and has since spoken out many times about the issue of mental health, Laurie said.
Wilson and his wife founded an outreach called “Anthem of Hope” designed to help people dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts.
“Jarrid also repeatedly dealt with depression and was very open about his ongoing struggles,” Laurie said. “He wanted to especially help those who were dealing with suicidal thoughts.”
He is survived by his wife, Juli, and two young sons, according to Laurie’s post.
On his verified Twitter page, Wilson had posted several times about September as National Suicide Prevention Month. 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.”
The last activity on his Twitter account was a retweet of the Anthem of Hope page. The original post contains a 24/7 chat feature and reads: “Lonely? Depressed? Need someone to talk to? … You don’t have to do this alone!”
On her unverified Instagram account, Wilson’s wife wrote he was a “loving, giving, kind-hearted, encouraging, handsome, hilarious, give the shirt (off) his back husband.”
“No more pain, my jerry, no more struggle,” she wrote. “You are made complete and you are finally free. Suicide and depression fed you the worst lies, but you knew the truth of Jesus and I know you’re by his side right this very second.”
‘Pastors are just people’
In her post, Juli Wilson said that “suicide doesn’t get the last word.”
“I won’t let it,” she said. Juli Wilson wrote her husband’s work led “thousands to the feet of Jesus” and his willingness to share his struggle with anxiety and depression “has helped so many other people feel like they weren’t alone.”
“YOU WERE an anthem of hope to everyone, baby, and I’ll do my best to continue your legacy of love until my last breath,” she wrote.
Laurie, the pastor with Harvest Church, wrote in his post: “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.”
“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,” Laurie wrote.