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Mental health wellness center opens on Madison's East Side

Wisconsin State Journal - 3/23/2019

March 23-- Mar. 23--The operator of an overnight respite center for people with mental health or substance abuse challenges on Madison'sEast Side has opened The Wellness Studio next door with day and evening group sessions.

SOAR Case Management Services opened the wellness center last week on Milwaukee Street, just east of East Washington Avenue. In 2016, the agency opened Solstice House, a peer-run respite center where people experiencing mental health or substance abuse symptoms can stay for up to five days.

The Wellness Studio offers free, drop-in group sessions on mental health wellness, decluttering, hearing voices and coping with anxiety and depression, and also has yoga and art classes.

Many mental health and substance abuse services are available in the Madison area, but some have wait lists, said Autumn Shaffer, peer-run respite program director at SOAR.

The studio's group sessions can help people "get the support they need while waiting to get into another service, or have continued support during their service," Shaffer said.

Also new to what Shaffer called the "recovery" block on Milwaukee Street is Communication, a sober, all-ages, art and music space.

Solstice House is one of three state-funded peer-run respite centers; the others are in Appleton and Menomonie. They are designed to help people who have mental health or substance abuse symptoms, but not crises, and reduce hospitalizations.

A fourth state-funded center, focused on veterans, is expected to open in Milwaukee. A separate county-funded respite center opened in Milwaukee last month.

For more information about The Wellness Studio or Solstice House, call (608) 244-5077 or visit


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