Jentezen Franklin Responds to Recent String of Celebrity Suicides

Chef and television personality Anthony Bourdain arrives at the 65th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, California, U.S., Sept. 15, 2013.
Chef and television personality Anthony Bourdain arrives at the 65th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, California, U.S., Sept. 15, 2013. (REUTERS/Jonathan Alcorn/File Photo)

Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain was found dead of an apparent suicide this week, as was iconic fashion designer Kate Spade.

Earlier this year, famed DJ Tim Bergling, commonly known by his stage name Avicii, also committed suicide.

The recent string of celebrity deaths have caught the attention of prominent leaders who know the root of this self-inflicted violence goes deeper than much of the world can understand.

Here's what they're saying:

Jentezen Franklin is the senior pastor of Free Chapel

It crushes my heart to wake up every morning and hear of more and more wonderfully gifted individuals cutting their own precious lives short. Anthony Bourdain was a master of his life's work, much like Kate Spade, Avicii, and other talented people who we've lost far too soon.

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Each and every story I hear reminds me that what the world needs isn't fame, fortune, success or an impressive resume—what the world needs is hope.

No matter how accomplished each of us are, every soul desperately needs to understand they are loved and were created with a purpose.

This isn't simply a mental health crisis, it's a spiritual crisis. The demons that lie to us need to be stared down and told to leave in Jesus' name. However glamorous one's life may seem, many people are hurting deeply on the inside, and it's our job to come alongside them and tell them the truth.

Autumn Miles, Christian speaker, author and radio show host

At one point in my life, I believed that suicide was my only option. I understand the very real taunt in your mind that says, "There is no hope. No one cares. Your life is worthless." In the wake of the horrific loss of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, I want to share that there is hope and help available to you if you are also plagued with thoughts of suicide. In addition to Christian leaders who are ready to provide help, you can reach out to the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

I found hope in the cross of Jesus Christ and in the very real love, compassion and acceptance of God Himself. It was in my relationship with the Lord that I saw a purpose and a hope for my future. There is daily freedom in Christ!

Daniel Rice, author of #Gospel:
What could be so soul-crushing that a person would chose to end their life? Our society has seen this type of hopelessness far too often in the headlines as of late. Loneliness and depression surround and besiege the mind like a marauding army. The Gospel at its core is God's rescue plan to reunite humankind with Himself. He has never walked away. Through times when it seems all is lost, He remains steadfast, and as His followers it is our responsibility to take that timely message of life and hope to a world in dire need of it.

Dr. Tim Clinton, president of the American Association of Christian Counselors

Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain: they had everything you could ever want—money, influence, success and fame. By the world's standard, they should have been happy and fulfilled. For many, this is why news of their suicides is so shocking. How could people with picture-perfect lives be mired in such hopelessness that the most alluring escape is suicide?

Here's the truth: It isn't that those considering suicide hate life. They hate life the way it is. The reality is that a meaningful life does not flow from any amount of fame, power or possessions. We are learning more and more how mental health struggles and the pace, pain and pressures of everyday life can cloud the mind, fuel rumination, make burdens seem impossible to bear and increase feelings of isolation.

This is an issue both everyday citizens and governments, big and small, must address. Suicide should strike at the heart of people of all faiths and even those of no faith. If we really believe life is precious, we cannot remain quiet. If someone near you is hurting, reach out with compassion and make sure he knows he doesn't have to face the struggles alone. We are dealing with a global mental health crisis, one we must confront as we would any other humanitarian crisis. There's no time to lose.

This story will be updated throughout the day.

Jessilyn Justice @jessilynjustice is the director of online news for Charisma.

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