LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - An organization made up of area churches is offering a way to pay for counseling sessions for any area residents who need it.
This comes at a time when anxiety, depression and isolation are on the rise because of the pandemic.
This is through the Mental Health Voucher Program and is offered through Catholic Charities of the Lubbock Diocese. The program offers six free counseling sessions to anyone who applies and qualifies.
The idea came from small group meetings that took place during the early days of the pandemic.
“Everybody had a story about increased anxiety or loneliness or depression," Member of West Texas Organizing Strategy and St. John’s United Methodist Church in Lubbock, Grace Reed, said. "And those stories really began to add up.”
Reed’s participation WTOS allowed her to hear the accounts of many whose mental health issues worsened because of the pandemic.
The Executive Director of Catholic Charities, Cynthia Quintanilla, also heard the accounts as well. Which is what sparked the thought that Catholic Charities could help provide residents with more mental health resources.
“It was a recurring issue that kept coming up every time we talked to somebody,” Quintanilla said.
The need was identified and both groups, along with others, went to the Lubbock City Council. They presented plans to the city council and leadership in the county government.
“Whenever we met with our city leaders we actually found that they were having the same problems that our community members had been having,” Reed said.
Because of that, $70,000 in grant money was secured during the council’s Sept. 8 meeting. That money is now able to fund the voucher program until at least the end of this year.
All who qualify for the vouchers also have the opportunity to have counseling sessions face-to-face or virtually.
A list of counselors who are participating in the voucher program should be found on Catholic Charities' website by Tuesday.
“We’re trying this pilot program so we can see if there is a continued need and be able to sustain that long-term,” Quintanilla said.
A link to the Catholic Charities website can be found here: Catholic Charities Diocese of Lubbock