Southern Religion

Depression kills [Addendum: Series on preachers and depression]

German artist Albrecht Durer's engraving "Melancholia" (1514)

German artist Albrecht Durer’s engraving “Melancholia” (1514)”

Suicide Survivor Resources

From Buster

Each of us has an organic, living brain which is prey to illnesses to which stigma is typically attached.

The psychic pain of acute depression is, one psychotherapist writes, “wholly incompatible with human life as we know it.” Depression is third among leading causes of death and disability worldwide, according to the World Health Organization, and is expected to be second to ischemic heart disease by 2020. Even the acutely depressed who successfully seek the help of a loving, supportive community like that of Sandy Ridge Baptist Church may not survive.

The North Carolina Biblical Recorder reports that in the death of pastor David Treadway of Sandy Ridge Baptist Church in Hickory.

Several months ago Treadway … told the congregation he was under doctor’s care for depression. An early statement Sunday from church leadership said their pastor had “succumbed to the disease of depression.”

At the spiritual core of this is love for one another and freely given help for those in need — now for his surviving family and congregation — but also the others who are afflicted by one of the mental illnesses into which any of us may fall. No matter where we are, the latter are in fact all around us. There is no better time to notice.


Hickory Daily Record obituary

Online Guestbook

Biblical Recorder series on preachers and depression


September 28, 2009 - Posted by | Churches, Health, Medical Care | , ,


  1. […] Recorder series on preachers and depression September’s death of pastor David Treadway of Sandy Ridge Baptist Church in Hickory brought to North Carolina a new focus on depression among […]

    Pingback by Biblical Recorder series on preachers and depression « BaptistPlanet | October 19, 2009

  2. The suicide of a minister gets attention. How about the multitude of others suffering from economic stress:

    Homes foreclosed
    Business about 40% less than 3 years ago
    Investments loosing 40%
    Insecurity over retirement prospects
    Constant wrangling in government with little result to taxpayer

    These are but a few of the things which trouble each of us. No one is exempt. People need to talk with one another honestly in SS as opposed to just studying the Bible in the past tense.

    Scripture deals with reality and could be an opportunity to go into small groups and talks honestly with one another about how the passage relates to hardships of today.

    I lost my home to foreclosure. Only 1 church member even called to say he was sorry. Yet, the SS goes on. The church put in a million dollar organ and that was the focus. Whatever happened to people caring for and helping one another instead of building bigger idols?

    Comment by Gene Scarborough | October 20, 2009

    • For what it’s worth, we’re sorry only one member of your church called. We find no verifiable reason to believe that church congregations in general are supportive of their members in times of stress, unless support is actively structured into the church’s ministry and managed.
      Installing the organ was a structured process at the church your describe, and probably managed by staff. Providing helping concern to members in distress apparently was not.
      That’s also how church members can fall into clinical depression, off the church roles and into a grave.

      Comment by baptistplanet | October 20, 2009

  3. Sounds like the Gospel Blimp is alive and well.

    Joseph Bayley knew the church well in that parable about people wanting to reach people for Christ by buying a big blimp.

    The blimp became rediculous as it got more organized–their neighbors were reached when they decided to get out of Gospel Blimp, Incorporated (GBI) and invite them to dinner!

    Tell me—What is the reason for the organized church if it ignores hurting people?????

    Comment by Gene Scarborough | October 21, 2009

  4. I think at the core of most suicides is grief. Elizabeth Kkubler-Ross notes Anger as a critical stage of the grief reaction as do most other analysts.

    If that anger is directed inward, suidice seems like a logical solution to the one grieving and not thinking clearly. The primative “fight or flight” reflex directs the person to flee through leaving this earth in death.

    How did the 30’s farmers survive the Depression without a multitude of Professional Counselors?

    The answer is in the little Country Store found in any community. After they had talked with one another in the morning and evening, they knew there was more than just one struggling to make ends meet. Their conclusion: “We might as well hit the field one more day and fight weeds and bowl weevels rather than kill ourselves. We are all in the same leaking boat!”

    Compare this to crowded roads where people get angry at traffic and listen to “Rush Limbaugh type lambast” over talk radio. The Country Store could be at SS or smoking under the shade tree at work–oops, forgot smoking is now forbidden around the workplace! Cigs are a whole lot safer than a loaded gun or exhaust hose stuck in the car window!

    “Let’s just talk a while!!!!”

    Comment by Gene Scarborough | October 25, 2009

    • Gene, you raise an interesting question with regard to rural suicide rates during the Great Depression – one I hadn’t looked at before.

      Federal statistics indicate that suicide rates increased during the Depression years. According to José A. Tapia Granadosa, writing in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, during the years 1930-33 the only tracked cause of death for which mortality increased was suicide.

      Recent work suggests that farmers in depressed sectors have suffed rising suicide rates during periods of economic distress.

      Comment by baptistplanet | October 25, 2009

  5. The farmer used to be the typical small business owner with family and children as a priority.

    Nowadays farming has transitioned to Agribusiness where only the wealthy and credit worthy person can do it. The typical Eastern NC farmer borrows $1-5 Million to begin the year. Quite a risk!!!

    With crop insurance and government subsidies he manages to stay in business, BUT 1 bad year takes 7 to overcome. I am seeing many going out with the current Depression economy. There are some of these who commit suicide. There aren’t that many farmers these days compared to the Depression.

    I suspect a more accurate statistic for today would be small businessmen. Suicide is still a “permanent solution to a temporary problem.”

    In my opinion, the core of the entire problem is GRIEF. A part of recovery is anger and hostility. When those emotions are focused on self, driving alone on the highway listening to more and more bad news and faced with foreclosure of home and loss of job, one never knows who in the next car is thinking about driving into a bridge abutment or 18-wheeler. Sometimes suicide is hard to determine.

    I still believe talking with friends in the “little country store” / SS small group is the constructive way to deal with problems–yet how many SS classes deal only with the history and theology of the lesson rather than how hurting people in Bible days dealt with the hard times of life?

    Comment by Gene Scarborough | October 27, 2009

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