A megachurch in Arizona raised nearly $2 million since November last year to pay for counseling services for those who are battling mental health problems amid the ongoing pandemic and other recent stress factors.
According to The Christian Post, the Christ's Church of the Valley (CCV) in Arizona started its "Press On" campaign in November, at the start of the holiday season. The church used Pushpay as its primary source to raise funds to pay for the cost of counseling services for those coping with the stresses of the pandemic and other factors, like the election season.
On the PressOn Campaign page of CCV's website, it writes: "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."
More than 4,000 people contributed to the campaign and raised $1.98 million, Christian Headlines reported.
Tyler Kurbat, director of marketing and communications for the 12-campus church, said that the idea for the Press On Campaign was first discussed during a meeting at the end of 2019 to discuss the upcoming series called "Let's Talk About It," which emphasizes on mental health during election season. At that time, COVID-19 was not part of the discussion as it wasn't rampant yet.
"It hit me that we had the opportunity to lean into mental health...," Kurbat said. "If you reframe the way you look at depression, right in the middle is the rallying cry and an invitation into hope. If you deemphasize just a couple of letters, 'press on' pulls through"
"It was amazing how God sort of set the table for us, led our leadership to know that this is a topic that is important ...," Kurbat added. "The opportunity was to remind our congregation and also non-believers that you're seen, you're not alone, and that there's help because really there's a tremendous opportunity to destigmatize these topics and provide some actual hope."
And thus, the Press On campaign was made.
Kurbat also said that in an average year, one in five people struggle with mental health problems, but due to the stress from 2020, more people could use the help they are offering.
"This year it's one in two, which means that if it's not you, it's probably someone you love. We have the opportunity to lean into that and provide some support." Kurbat claimed.
Scientists have been tracking an increase in mental health issues since the pandemic started and according to a U.S. Census Bureau survey, more than 42 percent of people in the December poll said they had been feeling anxious and depressed. It was an increase of over 11 percent compared to the previous year, Nature said.
"Mental health [problems are] skyrocketing," Kurbat said. "At the same time, financial uncertainty, financial stresses are also climbing. We had the opportunity as a church to jump in and fill that gap."
With the gathered funds from the campaign, the church will be able to cover 80 percent of the cost of 10 counseling sessions, and half the cost of the following 10 sessions.
Rachel Schmidt, CCV's Life Training pastor who oversees pastoral care, says she will help recommend people to counselors with biblical values.