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Jarrid Wilson (2019), megachurch pastor and mental health advocate

by Linnea Crowther

Jarrid Wilson was an associate pastor at California megachurch Harvest Christian Fellowship, known for his mental health advocacy.

Jarrid Wilson was an associate pastor at California megachurch Harvest Christian Fellowship, known for his mental health advocacy. Wilson cofounded the nonprofit Anthem of Hope, which raises awareness of mental health issues, works to break the stigma around them, and offers support to those who are struggling. He also wrote books including “Jesus Swagger: Break Free from Poser Christianity” and “Love Is Oxygen: How God Can Give You Life and Change Your World.” Wilson shared his own journey with depression, often posting about it on social media and writing about it in his blog.

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Died: September 9, 2019 (Who else died on September 9?)

Details of death: Died by suicide at the age of 30.

Is there someone you miss whose memory should be honored? Here are some ways.

If someone you know exhibits warning signs of suicide, they should not be left alone. Call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. The Lifeline provides free, confidential support for people in crisis or emotional distress, 24/7 year-round. The Lifeline also offers an online chat for people who prefer to reach out online rather than by phone.

Offering a new Christian view of mental health: A recent post on Wilson’s blog challenged the belief that those who died by suicide are condemned to hell. He reasoned that mental illness can “lead many people to do things they wouldn’t do otherwise if they didn’t struggle.” The church community wouldn’t tell someone fighting cancer that their illness condemned them to hell, he reasoned, and neither should mental illness be considered a route to hell.

Notable quote: “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. We must do better at educating people on things they have a hard time wrapping their heads around. And mental health is definitely [a] topic Christians around the world must yearn to better understand.” —from Wilson’s blog

What people said about him: “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.” —Paul Eaton, administrative pastor at Harvest Christian Fellowship

“Just learning of Jarrid Wilson’s passing. I am gutted. He was so bold and transparent to speak about people of faith navigating challenges to our mental health. I pray he found the peace he wanted for all of us.” —Twitter user @CandiceBenbow

“I am so shocked and overwhelmed. I never met Jarrid but I mourn his death deeply. I read his book Love Is Oxygen and we tweeted at each other a few times. His overwhelming support for the depressed and suicidal was a beacon of light in my bad times. You’re so loved.” —Twitter user @josiahwhitley

Full obituary: Washington Post

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