Pastor: Jarrid Wilson, founder of suicide outreach, dies

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RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — Jarrid Wilson, who founded a Christian suicide outreach group in Southern California, has died.

Wilson, an associate pastor at Harvest Christian Fellowship who founded "Anthem of Hope" with his wife to help people coping with depression and suicidal thoughts, died by suicide Monday, said Greg Laurie, senior pastor of the church with campuses in Southern California and Hawaii.

"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, California, in 1973. It now has 15,000 people and hosts large-scale evangelistic events.

Wilson spoke openly about his struggle with depression and wanted to help others. The outreach group founded in 2016 sought to end the stigma of mental illness and connect people to resources including a 24-hour crisis line.

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

Laurie said Wilson's death is a reminder that spiritual leaders also struggle. He urged those in need to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.

"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."

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