Ann McCauley and Bob Frankel’s son David was a vibrant and loving person who received treatment at McLean over the course of a few years.
When David was at McLean, he and his parents appreciated the care they received from the staff, but they especially valued the attentiveness and devotion of frontline staff—employees who interact directly with patients by developing therapeutic relationships and assisting with daily activities. Frontline staff often serve as the first point of contact for patients and are there for them in many ways throughout their treatment stays.
According to Ann, the support staff they met were often young people, like David, but unlike David’s network outside McLean, they understood what he was going through. “He could talk openly, and they would be very respectful, supportive, and kind,” said Ann. “They were those things to us too.”
David passed away in 2018 at the age of 28. To honor his memory, Ann and Bob established the David Frankel Endowed Memorial Fund. This fund supports the David Frankel Award for Compassionate Care, which recognizes a frontline staff member within McLean’s Division of Psychotic Disorders. Nominees for the award are accepted for their dedication to the six core values commonly known as the six Cs: care, compassion, courage, communication, commitment, and competence.
In October 2019, staff members from the Division of Psychotic Disorders honored Christopher Manousakis, a mental health specialist at the Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder Inpatient Program. Ann and Bob attended the ceremony.
“One of the qualities that we saw at the program was that these staff members recognized the dignity of the patients,” shared Bob. “I imagine one can have a job like that—maybe not at McLean but at other facilities—and just punch in and out, and make sure everybody’s safe. But I think it was different for us, and also for David, who knew he was viewed as a worthy individual.”
Ann and Bob are grateful that the McLean staff recognized David for the intelligent, caring person he was. They could see beyond the illness.
“The award inspires us to live and work as David did: with kindness and appreciation for every day and everyone.”– Joseph Stoklosa, MD
“When David was healthy, he was very healthy,” Bob said. “He had finished college and had gotten into a number of law schools.”
“He was robbed of his future by this terrible illness,” said Ann. “He struggled with it for years. He would get better, then slip back, and ultimately, it overcame him. There are so many strides that need to be made to help alleviate people’s suffering. That’s why we tried to carve out a spot where maybe, through this award, we could make some small acknowledgement of the importance of the day-to-day kindness.” Through their endowed fund, the David Frankel Award for Compassionate Care will be awarded annually and in perpetuity.
After a few of David’s hospitalizations, he wrote thank-you notes to people at McLean who had been particularly helpful to him. Not only was David appreciative, Ann recalled, but at times he talked about how he might want to become a peer support specialist—someone in recovery from mental illness who uses lived experience to help others.
“It didn’t work out for David, but he could see in these individuals something to aspire to himself,” she said.
Joseph Stoklosa, MD, clinical director of McLean’s Division of Psychotic Disorders, is grateful for the family’s decision to create this much-needed recognition of compassionate care. “Our frontline staff are the eyes, ears, and heart of what we embody as providers, and when we do that well, the people we serve feel heard and understood. The award reminds us how important every frontline staff member is to our mission and to the lives we touch,” said Stoklosa. “By carrying David’s name, the award inspires us to live and work as David did: with kindness and appreciation for every day and everyone.”