A church in Arizona has raised nearly $2 million to pay for counseling services for those emotionally impacted by the pandemic and other recent stresses.

Christ’s Church of the Valley in Arizona started its “Press On” campaign in November to raise funds to help people receive counseling for mental health issues.

More than 4,000 people donated to the campaign and raised $1.98 million.

Tyler Kurbat, director of marketing and communications for the church, said in an average year, one in five people struggle with mental health issues, but because of the stress of 2020, more people could benefit from help.

“Thus year it’s one in two (people), 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,” he said.

According to a U.S. Census Bureau survey, more than 42 percent of people in the December poll said they had feelings of anxiety and depression.

“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 funds, the church will cover 80 percent of the cost of 10 counseling sessions. Then, the church will cover half the cost of the next 10 sessions.

CCV’s Life Training pastor Rachael Schmidt, who oversees pastoral care, says she will help refer people to counselors with biblical values.

Kurbat said church leaders originally came up with the campaign at the end of 2019 before the pandemic hit countries all over the world.

“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.”

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