Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Event Offers Support for Those Struggling with Fear, Anxiety Due to COVID-19

By Alyssa Schnugg
News editor

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our world from how we work to how we spend time with family and friends. While young, healthy folks are starting to see some normalcy return, older people and those with health issues continue to remain at home behind closed doors.

From isolation to fear of the unknown, many people are depressed or anxious and feeling out of control.

Oxford faith leaders have organized a one-day event, Help and Hope During COVID-19, that will be held at 6:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 23 at the Old Armory Pavilion.

The event is for anyone struggling with the uncertainty of the past year and who may need encouragement and support.

Local sports broadcaster Richard Cross will emcee the event that will feature guest speaker Les Ferguson Jr., a minister at Oxford Church of Christ and author of “Still Wrestling: Faith Renewed Through Brokenness.” Ferguson’s wife and son were murdered in 2011 and will speak about recovering from life-changing tragedy.

The number of prescriptions for antidepressant, anti-anxiety and anti-insomnia medications filled per week increased 21% between Feb. 16 and March 15, 2020, according to a report by Express Scripts in May.

The number of Americans who Googled information about panic and anxiety attacks reached a 16-year high this spring, according to a new analysis from the Qualcomm Institute’s Center for Data-Driven Health at the University of California San Diego, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Help and Hope was organized jointly with Oxford Church of Christ, Rivers Hill Church of Christ, Interfaith Compassion Ministry and Kingdom Builders 4Life Ministries. Communicare will have people on hand to talk with individuals and families about mental health care options and representatives from The Pantry will be providing food and meals outreach.

The event was the result of a month’s long process of prayer, according to one of the organizers, Dr. Eric Dahl.

“Church leaders, a Zoom Bible class called Homebuilders and a small group who have met in our driveway on Sunday evenings have been In prayer for an opportunity to bless our community during these troubled times,” Dahl said.

The group first considered a Zoom event but realized it would limit the number of people who could benefit.

“With continued prayer and brainstorming, we realized that an outdoor event like our driveway meeting would be an ideal place to invite Les Ferguson to share his story of struggle and wrestling with God to find hope,” Dahl said.

The Old Armory Pavilion is located on the corner of Bramlett Boulevard and University Avenue. Masks and social distancing will be required at the event.