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'We See You, and We Want to Help': AZ Megachurch Raises $2M for COVID-19 Mental Health Counseling

Registered traveling nurse Patricia Carrete, of El Paso, Texas, walks down the hallways during a night shift at a field hospital set up to handle a surge of COVID-19 patients (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Registered traveling nurse Patricia Carrete, of El Paso, Texas, walks down the hallways during a night shift at a field hospital set up to handle a surge of COVID-19 patients (AP Photo/David Goldman)

One megachurch in Arizona has raised almost $2 million since starting a campaign late last year to provide counseling services for people suffering from depression due to stress from the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 election season.

Christ's Church of the Valley's "Press On Campaign" stresses, "We see you, and we want to help," according to the church's website. 

"No one is immune, and yet, so many of us feel alone in the struggles of anxiety, depression, addiction, and relationships. We see you, and we want to help. Church, community, if you're reading this, we have an opportunity to respond. 100% of all donations generated in this campaign will benefit people in the Valley who are ready to step into Biblical counseling from chosen, vetted partners. May we educate ourselves on this battle, truly lift up those in need, and Press On together," the website reads. 

The Christian Post reports more than 4,000 people have responded to the Press On campaign and over $1.98 million has been raised so far. 

The church's Life Training Pastor Rachael Schmid is the leader of the project. She told the CP the church covers 80% of the cost of 10 counseling sessions and covers half the cost of the next 10 sessions. 

People from all over the nation and around the world have responded to the campaign. 

As CBN News has previously reported, the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting changes to American life, including business and school closures, canceling entertainment and sports venues, as well as lockdowns, are taking a toll on the mental health of Americans from all walks of life.  

The pandemic response has been especially hard on the mental health of the nation's young people.  

In a survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last August, 63% of 18- to-24-year-olds reported symptoms of anxiety or depression, with 25% reporting increased substance use to deal with that stress and 25% saying they'd seriously considered suicide.

"The mental health impact of the pandemic is much larger on younger adults," Dr. Shekhar Saxena of The Harvard School of Public Health and a professor for the practice of global mental health courts told ABC News. "The figures that we have from the U.S. suggest that almost two-thirds of the young adults have some symptoms of anxiety or depression or other psychological problems."

In addition, more than 42% of people surveyed by the U.S. Census Bureau in December reported symptoms of anxiety or depression in December – an increase from 11% the previous year, according to Nature.com

Dr. Danny Holland, a licensed professional counselor and assistant professor in the School of Psychology & Counseling at Regent University told CBN News all of the changes that have happened over the last year have had a profound effect on our well-being.

"One of the things we know is that predictability and control are anchors that people have in order to feel a sense of wellness and routine in their lives," he said. "Those things have been dramatically impacted for almost everybody. So there's a loss of control – that ability to look at their life and know what's going to happen next."

Last spring, the Trump administration expanded telehealth services for Medicare and that includes providers like psychologists.

Holland has been seeing clients virtually for weeks now and says that while it can be difficult initially for people to get used to it, the benefits outweigh the challenges for most.

"People can actually sit in the environments where they're having the struggles in and they can work through some of the strong feelings right there and have the counselor come right into the environment with them and assist them," he said.

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