Robert and Eleonora McCabe Recognized by the Indian River, FL Taxpayer’s Association for Their Service to the Community by Fighting Mental Illness. Now Supporting a Free Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Support Group for First Responders.


John and Eleonora McCabe


Following the tragic suicide of her eldest son, Eleonora McCabe chose to turn the McCabe Foundation’s attention to the circumstances surrounding the delivery of mental health care.

(Please see below: about the McCabe Foundation.)

The McCabe Foundation is family foundation dedicated to improving the delivery of mental health care.

Firmly believing that improving mental health care is a challenge a community should face together, Eleonora helped establish the Mental Health Collaborative of Indian River County in 2004. The Collaborative consists primarily of philanthropists and funding organizations working with mental health providers to improve the community’s continuum of mental health care.

Please refer to related article:

In cooperation with the Collaborative, the McCabe Foundation has participated in both funding and advocating for several significant projects to improve the continuum of care for people suffering with mental illness.

Here are some facts:

Mental Health America: “Approximately half of Americans will meet the criteria for a diagnosable mental health disorder sometime in their life, with first onset usually in childhood or adolescence? ”

National Alliance on Mental Illness: “1 in 25 adults in the U.S. experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities”

National Alliance on Mental Illness: “1 in 5 youth aged 13-18 experiences a severe mental disorder at some point during their life. For children aged 8-15, the estimate is 13%.”

Department of Health and Human Services: “Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States? 90% of those who die by suicide have an underlying mental illness..”

The Economist: “Estimates from several rich countries put the economic cost of mental illness at 3-4% of GDP. Around a third of that is the cost of treatment; the rest is from lost productivity and the payment of disability benefits. Worklessness and mental illness feed off each other.”

The McCabe Foundation has participated in both funding and advocating for several significant projects to improve the continuum of care for people suffering with mental illness. Two such significant project are the Mental Health Walk-In and Drop-In Centers at the Mental Health Association of Indian River County.



The Mental Health Association in Indian River County (MHA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing immediate access with no barriers to mental health care. The statistics you just read, as above, are real and alarming. MHA shares them with the community to stress the importance of the work they do, but also to spread the message that almost everyone is touched in one way or another by mental illness; and it’s okay to get help. That’s what MHA is there for; to help protect the dignity of those suffering from a mental illness.

MHA has Walk-In Centers, designed to meet the emerging and imminent mental health needs of individuals and families in Indian River County, while enhancing the quality of their lives.

The Centers provide crisis intervention and individual therapy services to children, adults, and families, as well as psychiatric evaluations and medication management services to adults.

The staff of the Walk-In Centers understand you can’t wait for an appointment and they don’t expect you to have to.

They are open Monday – Friday 8:30 am. until 5:00 pm. and no appointment is necessary. Just walk in.

When someone complains of feeling sad, being low in energy, and losing their self-confidence, why is it often handled as a phase someone is going through to be ignored until it gets worse?

We can’t wait until someone experiences depressed mood day in and day out, has difficulty getting out of bed, and has thoughts of self-harm. We recognize that many times people may not realize that their symptoms are being caused by a mental health condition, or they may feel ashamed to seek help because of the stigma associated with mental illness. Consequently, there is a delay in seeking help, and getting on the path to recovery.



The mission of MHA is to provide immediate access with no barriers to mental health care.
“It’s Okay to Get Help!”

Its vision is that individuals will be afforded an opportunity for an improved quality of life through access to a continuum of care, reduced stigma of mental health issues, and increased integration and acceptance within a community that has an informed understanding of mental health issues.

Its promise is a commitment to operate as a model agency for mental health care, sustaining a superb staff and facilities, and administering the agency with high standards of innovation and professionalism.

The MHA has been active in Indian River County since 1978.

In 2007, it opened its Walk-In Center at 820 37th Place, in Vero Beach. The Walk-In Center is unique in that it offers immediate access to emotional and behavioral health care for children and adults, on a walk-in basis for the initial visit, and by appointment for continuing treatment and services.

MHA wanted to make it easier for anyone seeking help, to obtain it, with no barriers. On a walk-in-basis, it is open Monday through Thursday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

At no cost to Indian River County residents and for a nominal fee for those out of county, children and adults can access the following services at the Walk-In Center:

  • A mental health screening with a mental health professional to determine treatment needs and create a care plan for mental health care.
  • On a walk-in basis, any necessary follow-up care.
  • Crisis intervention services for safety planning and prevention of harm to self or others.
  • Consultation with loved ones or family members concerned about the mental health needs of someone else.
  • Referral information about other programs and services.

Through this Walk-In Center MHA provides a comprehensive approach to care with individualized treatment. MHA has seven therapists on its clinical team, a Clinical Director, a Director of Operations, a Director of Consumer Services, a Fund Development Manager, five support staff personnel, and two volunteers.

The Walk-In Center is designed to meet the emerging and imminent mental health needs of individuals and families in our community while enhancing the quality of their lives.

The MHA also offers a full range of mental health services, including therapy, case management, psychological testing, and psychiatric services, by appointment, on an ongoing basis.  It has to charge a fee for these services to keep our facility open; however, fees are adjusted based on household income and family size. Its hope is to minimize the impact your fee has on your situation. We accept many insurances.

The clinical staff at the Walk-In Center are licensed mental health professionals or supervised mental health professionals in training. These clinicians are devoted to the treatment and well-being of all clients and continually strive for personal and professional excellence.

Last year, it provided about 10,000 professional services to almost 1,300 unduplicated clients, including nearly 900 mental health screenings, 4000 psychotherapy visits, 900 psychiatry visits, and 4,000 group services, including our free support groups.

MHA also runs two Drop-In Centers for people with severe and persistent mental illness in three counties – Indian River, Martin, and Okeechobee counties. These centers are open 365 days per year and MHA has had 24,000 visits to the Drop-In Centers during the past year. Each center has a director. They also have staff assistants working at these centers.

The Drop-In Centers offer two unique support groups that any adult can attend.

The Lunch Bunch Support Group in Vero Beach

This NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) weekly caregiver support group for any adults who have a loved one with a mental health condition.

When: Every Thursday from 12pm – 1pm. (excluding 5th Thursdays of the month)

Where: The Walk-In Center
820 37th Place
Vero Beach, FL 32960
Cost: Free

Mood and Anxiety Support Group

This bimonthly support group facilitated by a clinician about dealing with depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety and or panic attacks. We offer this group for adults so they can relate to others who understand and learn skills and strategies to cope with these conditions.

When: Every first and third Wednesday of each month from 12pm – 1pm.

Where: The Walk-In Center
820 37th Place
Vero Beach, FL 32960

A new program offered by MHA, in a partnership with the Veterans Council of Indian River County, is a free Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) support group for First Responders, beginning January 10, 2017.  The program focuses on Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, but all veterans are welcome.

The program will be facilitated by Jim Ranahan, LCSW, a veteran, who is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Therapist at the Mental Health Association in Indian River County.


The group will be open to police, fire, corrections, dispatch, and emergency medical services personnel – active and retired.

It will provide a unique opportunity to process experiences and connect with peers in a comfortable, confidential setting.

It will meet on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of each month from 12:30 – 1:30 pm at the Mental Health Association’s Walk-In Center, located at 820 37th Place, Vero Beach.  It will be led by Jim Ranahan, LCSW, an MHA therapist, who is a veteran and retired Boston Firefighter.

Focused on providing support in understanding and reducing the negative effects of routine exposure to traumatic events, this support group will provide a unique opportunity for First Responders to process experiences and connect with peers in a comfortable, confidential setting.

“The MHA is proud to offer this support to First Responders in our community,” said Dr. Robert Brugnoli, Executive Director of the MHA.

“First Responders have a very difficult job. They deal with crisis, trauma, and tragedy on a regular basis. They potentially risk their lives to take care of others, every work day. They have no control over the volume or difficulty level of the calls they attend to on a shift.

At times, they have to contend with witnessing terrible things or dealing with injured or deceased victims or co- workers,” he continued. “Although PTSD is treatable, many people suffering with the condition do not know where to get help or fail to take advantage of treatment opportunities offered in the community. We can’t afford as a community to have any more First Responders suffering with this condition or worse yet losing another First Responder to suicide.

Our motto at the MHA is: “It’s Okay to Get Help!”. We want to participate in providing that help to our First Responders,” said Dr. Brugnoli.



About the Robert F. and Eleanora W. McCabe Foundation

Magnus and Agnes Wahlstrom of Bridgeport, Connecticut established the Wahlstrom Foundation in 1956. Now known as The Robert F. and Eleonora W. McCabe Foundation, the primary purpose of this family foundation was, and continues to be, to make a significant impact in improving and enriching the quality of life by responding to the needs of the day.

A Swedish immigrant, Magnus Wahlstrom co-founded one of the world’s most successful tool- making companies. Despite his financial success, he, along with his wife Agnes, never lost their concern for those less fortunate. Together they raised their only daughter, Eleonora, to understand her moral responsibility to give back philanthropically.

Groomed for most of her life to be an engaged volunteer and philanthropist, Eleonora assumed leadership of the foundation from her father in 1972. Following the family’s move to Vero Beach, Florida, the board’s leadership focused their efforts on improving the quality of life in their new hometown.

Under Eleonora’s leadership, The Wahlstrom Foundation became entrenched in Indian River County’s philanthropic sector. Among the many organizations supported were the Vero Beach Museum of Art, Riverside Theatre, Indian River Medical Center, Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice and Saint Edward’s School. Eleonora founded the Donor’s Forum, was the inaugural President of the John’s Island Foundation, and led the Women & Philanthropy Steering Committee, which evolved into what is now known as Impact 100.

After many years of successful grantmaking under Eleonora’s leadership, in 2003, the board of directors voted to change the foundation name to The Robert F. and Eleonora W. McCabe Foundation.




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