Popular gospel group The Walls Group recently appeared on "The Terrell Show" to promote their new single, “You’ve Got a Friend,” and were candid about their struggles with depression and suicidal thoughts.
The brother and sister quartet, Darrel McGlothen Walls, Rhea Walls, Alic (Paco) Walls, and Ahjah Walls, kicked off the interview by talking about how they came to be an ensemble in 2009. After some impromptu songs, the discussion took a serious turn when the host asked the group how they knew God was real.
“I think I knew God was real when He didn’t give me what I wanted,” Paco admitted. “I spent a lot of time in depression. I spent a lot of time in self-loathing. And through little things throughout my life, He just showed himself realer and realer every day.”
The youngest of the four, Ahjah, chimed in and said although she’s young she too has been through things. She revealed that she doesn't share much with others because she internalizes her emotions but God still always sends someone her way with encouragement.
“I think what solidified the reality of who God is to me was … He would send people to me, like that didn’t have an inkling of what I was going through … to encourage me or help me, or just speak life to me,” she emotionally said.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, use of antidepressants has been rising — from 7.7% in 1999–2002 to 12.7% in 2011–2014.
Depression at its worst leads to suicide and it affects 300 million people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. It’s estimated that 15 percent of people will experience depression at some point in their adult lives.
The older sibling of the bunch, Darrel, also confessed that his battle with depression led to thoughts of suicide.
“I also had the suicidal thing … you get yourself into some things … you just kinda start losing yourself. And you be like, wow, I don’t really understand, and I just rather not be here than deal with all this stuff," he said.
However, at 18 years old, Darrel testified that God spoke to him directly.
“He (God) said, ‘Give me a chance. I’ll show you why I have you here’ … and literally, maybe a week later, two people who didn’t know each other said the exact same thing to me.”
Host Terrell asked the gospel group to encourage anyone watching who may be battling depression or thoughts of suicide.
“Your life has a purpose. Your life has meaning. There’s nothing too big. You’re stronger than you think you are. You have everything you need to deal with what you’re facing because you are a child of God,” Ahjah exhorted.
More people reportedly die of suicide than homicide in America.
Among young adults, the suicide rate for people 18 to 19 years old is up 56% from 2008-17. Depression among 20- to 21-year-olds doubled between 2009-17, and anxiety and hopelessness among 18- to 25-year-olds jumped 71% from 2008-17.