Home Christian News Coming Out, Mental Health Crisis in the Background of Steve Austin’s Suicide

Coming Out, Mental Health Crisis in the Background of Steve Austin’s Suicide

Lindsey Austin

Recent blog posts from former pastor Steve Austin show that before he was discovered dead on June 7 from an apparent suicide, his wife, Lindsey Austin, was hospitalized for mental health problems. What’s more, these tragic events occurred shortly after Austin publicly came out as queer.

“Lindsey is now at a hospital downtown, where she’s been for a few days, and will likely be for another week,” said Steve Austin in a blog post from June 2. “I don’t want to go into too many specifics because I cherish Lindsey’s privacy. But please keep her brain and body in your prayers.”

Austin explained, “For a bit of back story, Lindsey switched from one SSRI to another a little more than two weeks ago. After several nights of no sleep, increased blood pressure, and some new mental health symptoms, she was treated at our local emergency room last Wednesday.” When Lindsey Austin’s symptoms got worse, however, she was hospitalized.

“SSRI” stands for “selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.” According to the Mayo Clinic, SSRIs “are the most commonly prescribed antidepressants.” 

Steve and Lindsey Austin Search for ‘New Normal’

In his post, Austin requested financial help for his family, saying that Lindsey would not be working for at least two weeks and he would only be able to work intermittently “as we figure out our new normal.”  

On May 23, in a blog post titled, “Embracing the truth of my sexuality,” Austin had announced that he identified as queer. “I’ve been attracted to both males and females for as long as I remember,” he said. “If you want to get specific, I check the boxes for bicurious, pansexual, questioning, and demisexual. So, I’m pretty sure that makes me the Q in LGBTQIA+.”

READ: LGBTQ and the Church Podcast Series: A Conversation We Need to Have

Austin said that his coming out had no impact on the status of his marriage. He had already shared the news with Lindsey in 2018, and her response had been to love him unconditionally. “Thankfully, my wife is celebrating my truth with me,” he said. Austin shared the news publicly with her “full support” and included in his blog post a statement from Lindsey that said, “This has changed nothing, other than permitting us to be more honest in our communication. And how can that be a bad thing?”

Austin explained that he was sharing the news about his queer identity out of a desire to live in courage and vulnerability instead of in fear and shame. “Do you have any idea how exhausting it is to perform your whole life for people who will only fully accept you if you deny anything about yourself that doesn’t meet their approval?” he asked. “For the past three decades, I’ve lived a lie, hoping to appease a group of people who only support you if you follow their rules and live up to their unfair and unrealistic expectations…Well, the hiding ends today.” 

READ: Caleb Kaltenbach: Do You See the LGBTQ Community Through God’s Eyes?

If you would like to support Lindsey Austin and her children, Ben and Cara, during this difficult time, you can do so at their GoFundMe page here.

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Jessica is a content editor for ChurchLeaders.com and the producer of The Stetzer ChurchLeaders Podcast. She has always had a passion for the written word and has been writing professionally for the past five years. When Jessica isn't writing, she enjoys West Coast Swing dancing, reading, and spending time with her friends and family.