One year ago today, we lost Pastor Jarrid Wilson to suicide.
He was a brother, a husband, a father, a friend, a mentor, and a pastor.
This week is National Suicide Prevention Week. And while it would be so easy to just write a memorial post, I want to use this space to not only honor the amazing life Jarrid lived, but to rally his message — one that still echoes today: his unwavering Anthem of Hope.
Jarrid founded the nonprofit advocacy organization Anthem of Hope in 2016 with a passion to equip the church with additional resources for those struggling with depression, anxiety, self-harm, addiction, and suicidal thoughts.
Currently, the number of people struggling with such issues is estimated to be as many as one-in-four. Additionally, nearly two-thirds of people with mental health issues never seek treatment.
Before Jarrid passed away last year, he started a Facebook group for Christians struggling with mental health. That small, organic group now has more than 15,000 members.
This time last year, the nascent group had a little over 2,500 people. It is steadily growing by the dozens each week.
I was blessed to know Jarrid through his work in mental health. As a young guy getting started out in ministry, it was hard for me to find someone who understood me. Jarrid was that guy for me. I’m truly grateful for the words, hope, and effort he poured into helping me and countless others like me become who we are today.
His vulnerability and work opened the door for me to know I’m not alone in my struggles and there is hope found solely in Jesus.
“Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure suicidal thoughts,” Jarrid wrote the week of his death. “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.”
Had he not succumbed to the crippling pressures of depression and suicidal ideation, Jarrid would no doubt be thrilled with the thriving community that once-fledgling Facebook group has become.
But there is much more work to be done.
The original vision Jarrid nurtured is still alive today thanks to his wife, Juli, and his brother and sister, Christian and Kaylie. The team at Anthem of Hope is currently working on additional resources to advance its quintessential message: #YourLifeMatters.
If you are struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts today, please visit the Hope Line at anthemofhope.org. Additionally, the profits from sales using the purchase code “ANTHEM” at fearisaliar.co will go directly to Anthem of Hope to help fight the stigma surrounding mental health issues.