Even before the pandemic Warminster-based wellness and counseling center Airmid was experiencing significant growth. In the time since the shutdowns and quarantine of spring 2020, Airmid, which had operated for five years prior primarily with owners Marianne Welch-Salkind and Dottie Kelly-Arabia, had tripled in size to 15 therapists, as well as wellness staff and coaches.
“We were like the second responders during COVID,” Welch-Salkind recalled. “Everybody was trying to adjust to such a drastic way of living, and it really took a toll on their mental health.”
At a loss for how to keep pace with the influx of new clients, Airmid’s Wellness Director, Ed Salkind, sought support from SCORE Bucks County mentor Bill Grant, who began mentoring Salkind - the husband of Marianne - in December 2019. Grant offered guidance in billing practices, facilities, classes, and transition planning.
“They still have a backlog but are working this down by bringing on the new therapists and folks finding other solutions for their needs,” Grant said.
Grant also helped the center differentiate itself from traditional therapy businesses since Airmid provides holistic healing through wellness classes such as yoga, meditation, reiki and more in conjunction with traditional talk therapy.
“Because of the mentorship, I’ve been able to re-examine it, recreate it and find different ways to promote it,” Kelly-Arabia said of the wellness components.
In addition to providing comprehensive mental health and wellness services to adults, Airmid specializes in supporting youth with emotional needs, including those on the autism spectrum. Five of the center’s therapists provide children’s services at the center’s new Children’s Play Therapy Center, which incorporates art, play and sand therapy and a SMART (Sensory Motor Arousal Regulation Treatment) Moves Therapy Room.
A registered nurse and a licensed counselor with more than 20 years’ experience, Kelly-Arabia and Welch-Salkind, a licensed massage therapist and licensed therapist, understand the intersection between mental health and wellness.
“It’s impossible to help somebody with their emotional issues and not address how the body is storing it,” Welch-Salkind said. “We know that physical movement needs to happen for a complete healing.”
When the co-owners could not find the duality of treatment options at previous places of employment, they joined forces in 2015 to establish Airmid.
Going forward, the challenge is coaxing clients back into in-person wellness classes, which are currently offered in a hybrid format.
“Hybrid makes it difficult to create that community that Airmid is all about,” Kelly-Arabia said. “These are all people working on being their better selves. It’s a great network and social connection to support each other.”
Airmid intends to continue mentoring with Grant. SCORE provides no-cost mentoring through the life of a business.
“We’re doing everything that we’re being advised to do and it’s lifting off the ground,” Welch-Salkind said. “We’re learning so much.”
Grant’s background in health care practices has been beneficial.
“SCORE mentors know how to give that information to someone in a way that they can take it and run with it,” Kelly-Arabia said, adding that Grant’s advice has been most helpful. “Here’s a person that’s lived it and took the hard knocks and knows how to help you avoid the knocks or at least take the blow a little easier.”