HomeNewsNationalCalifornia Pastor Commits Suicide...

California Pastor Commits Suicide After Struggling with Mental Illness

Southern California Pastor, Jim Howard, died from a self-inflicted gunshot to the head at home last Wednesday, January 23, after his battle with mental illness. Paramedics with the Los Angeles County Fire Department went to his home located on North Sunny Creek Drive while the police were called in for investigation. Howard had served as a lead pastor of the Valencia campus of Real Life Church (RLC) for over three years.

The news was confirmed by lead pastor Rusty George in a statement on the website of Real Life Church.

“As all of us who knew Jim can attest, he was a wonderful man with a deep love for Jesus and a passion for sharing the grace of God with anyone he met. He was also a tornado of energy, always looking for new challenges and opportunities to minister to others.”

George added that Howard had been struggling with mental illness, even talking about it in public. “Sadly, Jim suffered in private with mental health challenges — some of which he bravely discussed in public – and was wrestling with some personal issues in recent months. This week he made the tragic decision to end his pain. He will be deeply missed by his family, friends, the RLC family and all those who were blessed to know him.”

Howard’s death puts a spotlight on the immediate need to address mental health issues. In a statement released by Jared Monroe Foundation, a non-profit group that aims to raise awareness and support those who have bipolar disorder, mental health can affect everyone. “Don’t suffer alone. Reach out if you need to talk. You don’t have to suffer alone.”

Sharon Brubaker, a local advanced certified grief recovery specialist, said while there are no words that can make those who were left behind feel better, it’s a good thing that people are talking about suicide and death by taking your own life. “It’s not a stigma anymore and we have to talk about it day in and day out,” Brubaker added.

This is the second suicide incident involving a pastor in Southern California over the past year. Last August 25, Andrew Stoecklein, 30-year old pastor of the California megachurch Inland Hills, took his own life after struggling with depression and panic attacks.

He had just gone through an involuntary sabbatical that lasted four months to deal with mental health issues. When he came back, he was transparent with his congregation about his struggle, saying that his mental illness could be attributed to several events in his life.

In 2015, his dad passed away. There was also a stalking incident that prompted his family to live somewhere else. He likewise shared his personal issues about his health and stress from work.

Everything turned out to be too much until he became irrational and was even rushed to the emergency room. Together with his wife, Stoecklein thought he was on the road to recovery and that God still has plans for their family.

But on August 24, Stoecklein was discovered unconscious at the church. He died in a hospital the following morning due to self-inflicted injuries.

When Steve Austin, author of From Pastor to Psych Ward: Recovery from a Suicide Attempt is possible, learned of Stoecklein’s death, he felt a familiar ache.

Today, Austin travels the country speaking about his experience and the events leading up to it. He offers advice to struggling Christians and pastors. His message: No more shame.

- A word from our sponsors -

spot_img

Most Popular

Subscribe to our newsletter

To be the first to.know what's happening in the Christian community

More from Author

Actress Miya Horcher Leads With Love

Lead with love. A sweet and simple phrase—but not so easy...

5 Ways to Show God Our Thankfulness

The young doctor emerged from the operating room and approached my...

Interview with Actor Cole Marcus from Hit Film ‘I Can Only Imagine’

Actor and drummer Cole Marcus from the hit movie “I Can Only Imagine” has one main goal:

Chick-fil-A Founder’s Daughter Reveals Mom as ‘Backbone’ of Family Dynasty

“We have never separated business from good biblical principles and practices which we believe have contributed to the success of the business,” White said.

- A word from our sponsors -

spot_img

Prayer, Faith Can Help Teens with Mental Health Issues

A study on teens and young adults confirmed that those who pray and have a relationship with God were more likely to flourish in life more than their peers.

Count Your Blessings Daily, Not Just Once a Year

I heard about a family seated around their table looking at the beautiful golden-brown turkey. Dressing and gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, various vegetables, and casseroles complemented the turkey. From the oldest to the youngest, they went around and expressed their praise.

More than 7,000 Kids Decide to Follow Jesus –YFC

The Youth for Christ announced that 7,323 kids and teens decided to follow Jesus Christ this year, twice the record reported in 2021.

Billy Graham Archive & Research Center is Now Open

The new Billy Graham Archive and Research Center opened in Charlotte, North Carolina on November 7, the birthday of the late evangelist.

MercyMe hopes new album can help heal divisions: ‘We’ve got a divided body of Christ’ 

Bart Millard and his MercyMe bandmates began writing some of the songs on their latest album in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, long before the nation was divided over issues that now dominate the headlines.  Millard, though, believes the album’s release in 2022 had been God’s plan...

‘Praise the Lord!’ Ukrainian Christians Cheer Kherson Liberation

Ukrainian Christians celebrate the liberation of Kherson with cheers of praise and thanksgiving, seven months after Russia occupied the city.

JESUS Film Makes History, Now Translated in 2,000 Languages

The JESUS film makes history as it is now translated into its 2,000th language making it the most translated film of all time.

U.S. Renews Calls Against Blasphemy Laws

The United States joined 15 countries in expressing concern over international blasphemy laws.

Franklin Graham Attracts Record-breaking Audience in Italy

More than 13,200 people gathered for an evangelical outreach led by Franklin Graham in Milan, Italy on October 29.

A Hindu PM Marks a Historic Moment in the UK

Rishi Sunak becomes Britain's first Hindu prime minister. He is also the first person of color to hold the highest office in the UK.

A New Biblical Worldview Study Series is Now Available Online

Family Research Council and Summit Ministries announced a partnership launching a new biblical worldview series called Now We Live.

Gen Z Could Change the Faith Landscape in Australia

Two recent surveys on Christianity and the church in Australia found that Gen Zs are generally open to conversations about faith and spirituality.