A number of our partner agencies, schools, and workplaces have reached out to us recently asking us if we are still actively responding to critical incidents and if we are still offering trainings on trauma and suicide prevention topics. The short answer is we are busier than ever as we continue to retool and offer our trauma responses and trainings in this new virtual world.
Much of our work in recent weeks has been ramping up to provide COVID-19 specific information and responses:
• We have developed several COVID19 specific tip sheets for parents and school and mental health professionals (Resources).
• We have delivered multiple webinars on how to cope with the current pandemic (How to Cope With Uncertainty: Safety, Predictability, Control).
• We have been actively reaching out to schools and communities with which we have relationships and offering our support.
• We have recently been awarded a FEMA crisis counseling grant that will allow us to hire 23 temporary staff that will conduct outreach and provide psychological first aid to citizens of the Commonwealth who have been impacted by medical, financial, and logistical issues during the current pandemic.
• Four of our trauma responders have begun working 10-20 hours a week shifts on the Mass211 helpline.
Examples of Recent COVID-related Responses and Collaborations:
• Supported several residential group homes after the unexpected death of a staff person or resident. In three instances the deaths were COVID-19 related.
• Responded to two separate residential homes after a sudden, medical death of a consumer was witnessed by residents and staff who were involved with rescue activities.
• Program Coordinator Waheeda Saif began providing weekly COVID Specific PFA Refresher Training for our Critical Incident Team.
• Clinical Director Joanna Bridger gave a webinar for Peer Grief Support workers using the framework of “Safety, Predictability and Control.”
• Senior Clinician Nanci Ginty Butler gave a webinar for Mindwise Innovations SOS programs on “Coping with Uncertainty.”
• Continued participation in the Pioneer Valley Coalition for Suicide Prevention, the Greater Boston Suicide Prevention Coalition, the Northeast MA Coalition for Suicide Prevention and the Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention as the concern of increased suicide risk during the pandemic rises.
• Consultation with Boston Public Health Violence Prevention staff on trauma-informed care with the Homeless Services Bureau as they continue to respond to the pandemic.
• Conversation with a public health advocacy agency to help them develop a plan to support staff and their affiliates in response to COVID-19.
• On-going consultations to the Department of Children and Families, the Department of Mental Health, the Department of Veteran Services, and the Department of Public Health.