Slightly more than half of Americans -- 53% -- think churches should do more to prevent suicide in America, according to a new poll by LifeWay Research, a Christian company based in Nashville.
Nearly half of evangelicals (48%) say people with serious mental illnesses like depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia can be cured by Bible study and prayer alone. Sixty percent of Americans overall disagree.
The Warrens said Matthew had access to good health care, but the system sometimes puts obstacles between families and their mentally ill loved ones.
Kay Warren pointed to difficulty families have in getting mentally ill family members help because of laws on patient privacy.
“The right to privacy and that right to autonomy, it's a dance,” she said.? “I don't have good answers. It's a dance. So we've got to do a better job with that.”
Because the Warrens are conservative Christians who oppose same-sex marriage, rumors circulated about Matthew's sexuality in the days after his death.
The Warrens dismissed those rumors in the CNN interview.
“Well, first, Matthew wasn't gay, " Rick Warren said, "but if he was, we would have loved him unconditionally anyway. “It wouldn't have made one difference at all.”
The Warrens said they have tried to stay away from online criticism and the rumors surrounding Matthew’s death so they can focus on his legacy: raising awareness about mental illness.
Asked why they had not prioritized mental illness earlier, the Warrens said that they did not want to thrust their troubled son into the limelight.
“It was his story to tell,” Rick Warren said.
Now telling Matthew’s story falls to his parents.
They want the world to remember a young man who was “funny, quirky, ridiculously silly.”
On his headstone the family put “compassionate warrior.”
They have established the Matthew Warren Fund to honor his memory. Rick Warren said they will wait a year and then hope to use the funds to help those struggling with mental illness and their families.
The Warrens want to spread the word that even though their story had a tragic ending, “There’s hope,” Kay Warren said. “It’s so important that people know, no matter how desperate their despair, there is hope, and not to give up.”