The Mental Health Collaborative of Indian River County was awarded the “Rising Star-Treasure Coast Non-Profit Organization of the Year” at 211 Helpline’s 2019 Jewels of the Treasure Coast luncheon held at the Santa Lucie River Club, Port St. Lucie.
While the origins of the Collaborative date back 15 years, the organization officially incorporated in September 2016 and has since been instrumental in connecting over 2597 Indian River County residents with critical and timely mental health and substance abuse services.
The Collaborative is a partnership of local community members, and non-profit agencies working together to educate and facilitate, support and find solutions for mental health issues. The organization’s strategic plan has focused on four priorities: Mental Health Court launched in 2015; reducing mental health stigma; incorporating behavioral health into primary care; and designing and operating a community connection center.
The Rising Star award is given to a non-profit organization that is young and small but has the potential to grow and make a significant impact on the community it serves.
Central to the Collaborative’s success over the last two years has been the opening of the McCabe Connections Center in 2016. Named in honor of the passionate advocacy of Ellie and Bob McCabe, the Connections Center’s purpose is to strengthen Indian River County’s mental health continuum of care by helping Indian River County residents gain access to mental health and substance abuse services. McCabe Connections Center staff members help individuals receive both financial and clinical screenings to determine the level and types of services needed. Staff secure appointments and follow up to ensure there are no issues preventing individuals from keeping their appointments.
“We have some of the best biopsychosocial services available right here in Indian River County, but it’s often difficult for people in distress to navigate the system and access the right care the first time,” said Brett Hall, the Collaborative’s Executive Director.
“Because we screen individuals based on criteria given to us from mental health providers, there is a higher rate of success for referrals that come through the McCabe Connections Center,” Hall said. “This not only makes the mental health care system more efficient, but it also relieves a great burden for people in with emerging mental health crisis.”
In the coming year the Collaborative is focusing on building community awareness about mental health, including StigmaFreeIRC, aiming to reduce the stigma of mental health, bringing Mental Health First Aid to our community and continuing to bring the provider communities together.
“The Connections Center is the hub for all things impacting mental health and sobriety. We can’t solve every problem, but we will do all we can to address the social determinants impacting a person’s mental health and sobriety,” Hall said.