NOTE: This project was made possible in part through the help of a NOW District Catalyst Grant, which Grace applied for and was awarded in 2021. Go here to see the Catalyst Grant guidelines.
Submitted by Rev. Jonathan Dinger
Grace Lutheran Church
Opening in the summer of 2021, Grace Lutheran Church in Pocatello, Idaho is now hosting two offices through which Pearl Health is providing counseling services for the community.
It became clear early in the pandemic of 2020 that the unreported consequences of anxiety, depression, fracturing relationships, and suicide were taking a tremendous toll on a large percentage of our population. As noted in the Catalyst Grant application for this project: “One simple statistic is shared regularly but oddly, not loudly: Clinical depression is up over 400% in the last year, and suicide attempts among those 16-30 have tripled. Many more disturbing data points are available, but we know that the needs for mental health in Pocatello far exceed our professional community’s ability to meet them.”
These effects were not sensational nor did they make many headlines, yet the human cost has been tremendous. Grace believed this to be an incredible opportunity for the Church to step into a time of need with high level, professional counseling services which could be provided in a Christian context and bring faith to bear as well into those devastating circumstances. The counseling offices primarily serve families and children — both when needs arise in our student population of 500+, as well as serving the greater community as well.
There is a full-time family counselor onsite daily, and other counselors with specialties (substance abuse and addiction) are on campus 2-3 days per week, occupying the second office Grace built and provided.
The Catalyst Grant provided by the NOW District made it possible for this new branch of ministry to be offered in a timely and highly professional manner. It fulfills a vital aspect of Jesus’ call to His people to “love your neighbor as yourself.”
We are grateful for this chance to bring additional ministry resources to bear in SE Idaho.