Since the 1990s, Riverside Community Care has helped Massachusetts communities deal with emotional trauma and recovery after critical incidents. In 2006, Riverside received funding from the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health to establish Riverside Trauma Center. Its mission: to provide trauma response services to the cities and towns in its core service areas of eastern and central Massachusetts. In November 2007, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health gave funds to expand the Suicide Prevention program statewide (with the exception of Boston).
Some of the community incidents at which we provided community outreach, consultation, and/or counseling to support people include:
- The fatal workplace shootings at Edgewater Technologies in Wakefield, MA, in December 2000, helping employees and their families.
- The 2001 bus crash that took the lives of four students from the Oak Hill Middle School in Newton, MA, providing support to faculty,
- In the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, we partnered with the Department of Mental Health and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to support and counsel families who were airlifted from Louisiana to Massachusetts.
- At Logan Airport following the September 11th attacks, assisting the Red Cross in supporting airport employees and the families of passengers on the ill-fated planes that left from Logan Airport.
- Again in 2011 we were the lead agency in the FEMA program to provide psychological first aid and on-going support to families and communities in the 18 towns of Central and Western Massachusetts impacted by a devastating tornado.
- The 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, helping people who attended the Marathon as well as local residents and businesses.
- students, and students’ families.
- The 2013 Safe and Successful Youth Initiative allowed us to train a network of trauma responders in 10 Massachusetts cities with a focus on youth violence. The program was designed to reach youth ages 10-24 impacted by homicide and assaults.
- In 2014 we supported the schools and city of New Bedford after a cluster of three suicide deaths of middle school students.
- In September 2016, in conjunction with Samaritans, Inc., developed one of the first support groups in the Country for family members of suicide attempt survivors.
- After more than 2,900 died in September 2017 due to the devastation of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, we joined with our partner agency Behavioral Health Network and supported evacuees in the communities of Dedham and Springfield.
- After The Merrimack Valley Gas Explosion in in September 2018 resulted in 80 fires and the destruction of more than 40 homes, we partnered with Family Services of Merrimack Valley to provide psychological first aid and on-going support for the impacted schools and communities.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
As part of Massachusetts’ efforts to support the behavioral health needs of residents during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Riverside Trauma Center was awarded a Federal Emergency Management Agency in conjunction with the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health to develop and manage a new crisis counseling assistance program. The new program, MassSupport, is made available through a federal disaster declaration. Riverside Trauma Center is deploying its trauma response and crisis intervention expertise in a statewide initiative to bring behavioral health resources, information, and referrals directly to individuals and communities. To reach MassSupport, anyone in the state can call 888-215-4920 to be connected with local support. Counseling is available in multiple languages.