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Solid Ground Counseling helping break stigma of mental health care

MADISON – In the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, anxiety and depression increased by a massive 25%, according to the World Health Organization. The organization said the increase was primarily linked to stress brought on by social isolation and constraints on people’s ability to work.

Certainly, mental health has become more mainstream as a health care offering over the past decade and, in 2018, licensed marriage and family therapist, Rachel Sullivan opened Solid Ground Counseling Center in a tiny, 800-square-foot shared office space.

“Solid Ground has been working to break the stigma often related to mental health issues and in addition to one-on-one therapy, they also work very closely with businesses and corporations to help transform attitudes about mental health,” said Megan Nivens-Tannett, a friend of Sullivan’s and founder and CEO of Flourish, a Huntsville and Madison marketing agency.

Specializing in individual, couples, and family counseling, Sullivan said breaking down the many barriers to mental health care became the foundation for her new company.

“We were held up for two years with COVID, but last year and this year brought us tremendous growth and I am thankful we had the chance to move into a new and much larger offices where we will now have room for open workshops so anyone from the community can come in for help as well,” she said.

“For businesses, we see it as an investment in your team and we have shared them with numerous organizations like Catalyst and Drake State, to help them understand and deal with employee mental health and stress awareness.”

Just a couple of blocks off Madison Boulevard and Slaughter Road, Solid Ground held its official grand opening and ribbon-cutting last week in a fully renovated space at 290 Pinehurst Drive.

“Solid Ground Counseling is doing amazing things in our community,” said Nivens-Tannett. “Mental health is a priority for everybody, regardless of how old you are or where you are in your career.”

Sullivan said she felt there really wasn’t anywhere else in town doing what she was doing in this particular area of mental health.

“We started looking at what it would take for me to get the practice where I needed it to be,” she said. “We started with individuals, couples and families with some group therapy over time to help people suffering from depression and big life transitions like divorce, death, and other factors that affect a person’s ability to function at a high level.

“Over the past couple of years, we have developed a mental wellness workshop intended to help people understand what mental health is specifically.”

Solid Ground was contracted for 30 hours a month to conduct nonmedical talks about what is going on in the workplace and how to recognize stress and manage it.

“Continuing to change the stigma around mental health is still a focus for Solid Ground Counseling because we are not done with that work yet,” Sullivan said.

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