“He was a champion for anyone struggling with anxiety/depression/suicide,” wrote Robby Gallaty, the senior pastor of Long Hollow Baptist Church
Popular megachurch pastor and mental health advocate Jarrid Wilson died by suicide on Monday at age 30, his family and church announced. The death has prompted religious leaders to send messages about mental illness as they remember Wilson as “a champion for the vulnerable.”
“I’m heartbroken over the passing of my friend @JarridWilson,” Robby Gallaty, the senior pastor of Long Hollow Baptist Church, tweeted. “He was a champion for anyone struggling with anxiety/depression/suicide. I’m praying for [Juli] and the children. I’m going to miss him very much.”
Jarrid’s wife, Juli Wilson, broke the news in an Instagram post featuring a video of Jarrid playing with their son. Juli explained in the video that Jarrid had died by 11:45 p.m., writing that “suicide doesn’t get the last word.” Over the years, Jarrid set out to help those struggling with depression and mental illness.
I’m heartbroken over the passing of my friend @JarridWilson. He was a champion for anyone struggling with anxiety/depression/suicide. I’m praying for Julie and the children. I’m going to miss him very much. pic.twitter.com/0Fn5eVqrEN
— Robby Gallaty (@Rgallaty) September 10, 2019
Those who knew Jarrid, if only through social media, praised his efforts.
“Absolutely grieved by the loss of my friend @JarridWilson. Pray for his wife and children,” Daniel Darling, of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, wrote on Twitter. “Jarrid was a champion for the vulnerable. Loved the gospel. And a relentless advocate pushing the church to take mental illness seriously.
Singer Jamie Grace even wrote about her own struggles as she paid tribute to Jarrid in a Twitter post.
“i just found out about the passing of @JarridWilson, who took his own life,” she began. “As someone who battles anxiety and depression, his posts always encouraged me and i enjoyed chatting with him and his audience on Twitter.”
i just found out about the passing of @JarridWilson, who took his own life.
As someone who battles anxiety and depression, his posts always encouraged me and i enjoyed chatting with him and his audience on Twitter.
Please join me in praying for his wife and family.
— Jamie Grace (@jamiegraceh) September 10, 2019
New article: “A Pastor Dies By Suicide: Three Things We All Need to Know.”
— Lee Strobel (@LeeStrobel) September 11, 2019
In 2016, Jarrid founded Anthem of Hope, a Christian organization dedicated to supporting people battling “depression, anxiety, self-harm, addiction and suicide.” Jarrid’s social media pages are full of messages from the pastor about hope for those with mental health challenges. On the day of his death, Jarrid shared a tweet from the Anthem of Hope Twitter account that read, “Lonely? Depressed? Need someone to talk to?”
In the wake of Jarrid’s death, other leaders have shared numbers to call for support for those having suicidal thoughts.
“Today is World Suicide Prevention Day, which normally makes me think of losing my grandfather at 17. But when I woke up this morning, I had no idea it would be a day that left me unexpectedly grieving the loss of my friend, Jarrid Wilson, who died by suicide last night,” Benjamin Corey, a prominent Christian figure, wrote in a Tuesday Facebook post.
“I had no idea what I’d think of you before we got to Armenia… I think I was skeptical we’d have anything in common or remotely like each other, but you turned out to be one of the most gentle and loving souls I’ve ever known… and I have been honored that this life included having you as a friend,” he added.
Last Thursday, my friend @JarridWilson texted me about raising awareness for #SuicidePrevention month. His heart was bursting to help other people with their hurt. Last night he lost his own battle with depression. I’m so sad for him, his wife and his young kids.
— Jon Acuff (@JonAcuff) September 11, 2019
This is Jarrid Wilson baptizing someone last Saturday. Look at the joy on both his and the young lady’s face that he baptized.
This is how I remember him. pic.twitter.com/FaAyI83hCs
— Greg Laurie (@greglaurie) September 11, 2019
In the hours before his death, Jarrid officiated a funeral for a woman who also died by suicide, according to a Monday tweet from the pastor.
“Officiating a funeral for a Jesus-loving woman who took her own life today,” he wrote. “Your prayers are greatly appreciated for the family.”
Jarrid is survived by his wife and their two sons Finch and Denham. A GoFundMe set up for the family has raised more than $76,000.
As the public continues to mourn, many social media users have been returning to the pastor’s recent social media posts, many of which include messages of vulnerability and hope.
“My name is Jarrid Wilson. I’m a husband, father, pastor and author. I also struggle with depression, and have for most of my life,” he wrote on Facebook in July. “I’m not telling you this so that you can feel bad for me, I’m telling you this so people know that they’re not alone, and that God offers the strength and hope you need to keep going.”
“We’ve all got things in life we struggle with,” he added. “We’re all imperfect. We’re all in need of a perfect savior. You’re not alone. It’s okay to admit you’re not okay. Admitting your struggle is the first step in finding healing.”
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “home” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
Author: Char Adams