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:
In the wake of a natural disaster or other large-scale crisis, we partner with the Commonwealth and FEMA to implement community disaster recovery plans. In the past, this has included working with families who were relocated to Massachusetts after Hurricane Katrina in August 2005 and counseling families whose homes were destroyed by the tornadoes that devastated the Springfield and Worcester areas in June 2011.
In 2013, through the Commonwealth’s Safe and Successful Youth Initiative (SSYI), Riverside Trauma Center provided training for a network of community trauma responders to focus on youth violence in Massachusetts cities that have the highest number of youth homicides and serious assaults. SSYI targeted males (ages 14-24) most likely to commit violence or be victims of it.
Riverside Trauma Center worked with community organizations in 10 Massachusetts’ cities to train individuals on Psychological First Aid (PFA) and Post Traumatic Stress Management (PTSM). These techniques, based on the best available research and practice knowledge, aim to decrease emotional problems that can result from violent incidents, and potentially decrease the likelihood of future retaliatory violence in children and youth. People who have been trained include mental health clinicians, clergy, school personnel, employees from the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families and the Department of Mental Health, and other local community members.
Now after a violent incident occurs in one of those communities, trained responders from that city are available to provide support, PFA, and PTSM to the families, loved ones, and communities of those involved in the event and impacted by it.