Why Kay Warren Is Hosting a Gathering for Survivors of Suicide This Week

by | Nov 22, 2019 | Woman

For the past seven years, Kay Warren has hosted an annual gathering at Saddleback Church in honor of Survivors of Suicide Loss Day.

During that time, Warren said, there have been many strides in mental health awareness.

One thing remains constant, though.

“The pain is the same,” said Warren, who lost her son Matthew to suicide in 2013. “The two hardest deaths to process, and mourn and grieve and walk through, are suicide and murder.”

Both involve deep trauma, she said.

“I think the pain that these suicide loss survivors bring into that room is going to be the same every year. It’s a horrible loss and it takes a long time to begin to recover,” said Warren, co-founder of Saddleback Church.

The event coincides with International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day, which was designated by Congress as a day when those affected by suicide can gather for support. It was created after former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, whose father died by suicide, introduced a resolution in 1999.

This day is commemorated on the Saturday before Thanksgiving since the holidays can be a hard time for suicide loss survivors.

Warren, in partnership with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, is holding the free Saturday (Nov. 23) event from 9 to 11 a.m. at Saddleback Church in South Orange County. There will be prayer, testimony from a mother who lost her son to suicide and from Warren, and Warren’s story of loss.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found. In 2017, there were more than 47,000 suicides and 1.4 million suicide attempts, according to the CDC.

Warren and her husband, Rick Warren, pastor for Saddleback Church, have been outspoken about mental illness and grief since their son’s suicide. A year after his death, they launched a mental health ministry at Saddleback Church. And just recently, Kay Warren held a new retreat for mothers of children with mental illness.

Warren said it’s been encouraging to see church leaders and families joining mental health professionals in talking about mental health and ways to cope with anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder. But still more has to be done, she said.

“Incorporating it into our faith and walking alongside people who have particularly serious mental illness is a place, I think, we’re still kind of weak,” Warren said.

A 2017 study from Nashville-based LifeWay Research found that many Protestant pastors say their churches want to be helpful to those who are at risk for suicide. But suicide and mental illness are rarely discussed in those churches, according to the study.

Warren said she’s seen some signs that Christians are willing to talk about depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder, but more needs to be done “around caring for people with serious mental illness.”

“We tend, at that point, to abandon people and say, ‘They’re too difficult. They cause too much disruption. They’re too much of a drain on the resources of a church or the staff,'” Warren said.

“I don’t see that as Jesus’ response,” she added.

A number of suicides in the evangelical community have made headlines in recent years.

In September, Jarrid Wilson—a 30-year-old associate pastor at megachurch Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside who had become a friend of Warren’s—died by suicide. A mental health advocate, Wilson was open about his own depression, often posting on his social media accounts about his battles with mental illness.

In August 2018, Andrew Stoecklein—a 30-year-old pastor of the megachurch Inland Hills Church—also died by suicide.

Warren said pastors and church leaders shouldn’t be put on pedestals.

“I’m a huge proponent for not hiding and getting help,” she said. {eoa}

© 2019 Religion News Service. All rights reserved.

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

It Is So Easy for Us to Lean on the Arm of Flesh

It Is So Easy for Us to Lean on the Arm of Flesh

Read Time: 4 Minutes 1 Second It was a problem for Israel in the Old Testament and for believers in the New Testament. And it is a problem for followers of Jesus to this day. I'm speaking about our tendency to lean on the arm of the flesh, to look to people to do what...

Simple Keys to Learn to Think Like Jesus

Simple Keys to Learn to Think Like Jesus

Read Time: 3 Minutes 31 Seconds For many years I went to church faithfully, week after week, but I wasn’t living a victorious Christian life. I read my Bible every day, served on the evangelism board and went door-to-door telling people about Jesus because I really...

Why Love Shouldn’t Upset Your Health Journey

Why Love Shouldn’t Upset Your Health Journey

What should we do when our loving husband brings us our favorite candy and we have committed to not eating sugar? As a Christian weight loss coach, I’ve heard from many wives who are afraid of hurting his feelings if she tells him she doesn’t want that any more. She’s...

What’s the Answer to Raging Political Violence in the Nations?

What’s the Answer to Raging Political Violence in the Nations?

Read Time: 1 Minute, 21 Seconds I’ve had several prophetic words on political violence come to me in recent months. I can’t shake it, especially after seeing the vice president of Argentina narrowly escape an assassination because the would-be-murderer’s gun jammed....

RECENT ARTICLES

Prophecy: The Lord is Releasing Prophetic Destinies

Read Time: 1 Minute, 44 Seconds The world is shifting and we are entering a critical time in history, one that can be concerning for some and exciting for others. We are seeing the very prophecy of...
David Jeremiah: The Significance of a Small Sacrifice

David Jeremiah: The Significance of a Small Sacrifice

Read Time: 4 Minutes, 28 Seconds Did you hear about the boy who took off his favorite bow tie during the church service and put it in the offering plate? When his dad asked him why he had done such a thing, the youngster replied, “Don’t you know? The pastor tells us...

Kingdom Economics: Choosing a Better Way—God’s Way

Kingdom Economics: Choosing a Better Way—God’s Way

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released its third and final estimate of second quarter GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and its PCE (Personal Consumption Expenditure Price Index). Since core (less food and energy) PCE is one of the Fed’s preferred measures of...

Brother Andrew Was My Hero

Brother Andrew Was My Hero

When Andrew van der Bijl was a young man, doctors told him he was “too weak to travel” because of his chronic back pain. That advice seems absurd now, when we look back on the life of this legendary evangelist who came to be known as “Brother Andrew.” After he started...

Pin It on Pinterest