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Jarrid Wilson: US pastor who ran suicide outreach group, takes own life

Jarrid Wilson, a Southern California pastor who with his wife founded the outreach group “Anthem of Hope” to help people coping with depression and suicidal thoughts, has taken his own life, a church official said.

The 30-year-old Wilson, an associate pastor at the megachurch Harvest Christian Fellowship died on Monday, said Greg Laurie, senior pastor of the church.

“At a time like this, there are just no words,” Laurie wrote on his blog on Tuesday. “The Bible says, ‘There is a time to mourn’. This is certainly that time.”

Wilson is survived by his wife Juli, two young sons and other family members.

The church was founded in Riverside in 1973 and now has 15,000 people with campuses in Southern California and Hawaii that host large-scale evangelistic events.

Wilson had spoken openly about his struggle with depression and his desire to help others.

On his Instagram page, he wrote in August: “Admitting you struggle with mental health doesn’t make you a bad Christian.” He also wrote “I’m a Christian who also struggles with depression. This exists, and it’s ok to admit it.”

The outreach group he and his wife founded in 2016 sought to end the stigma of mental illness and connect people to resources including a 24-hour crisis line.

Wilson died a day before World Suicide Prevention Day, which he posted about on his Twitter feed.

Laurie said Wilson’s death is a reminder that spiritual leaders also struggle.

“Sometimes people may think that as pastors or spiritual leaders we are somehow above the pain and struggles of everyday people,” Laurie wrote. “We are the ones who are supposed to have all the answers. But we do not.”

He urged anyone in need to seek help.

In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In the UK and Ireland, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org or jo@samaritans.ie. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international helplines can be found atwww.befrienders.org.

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