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Walsh works with public health officials to launch Neighborhood Trauma Teams

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh attends “Out of Many, One: An Interfaith Call for Dignity and Diligence” on Dec. 11. PHOTO BY CHLOE GRINBERG/ DFP FILE PHOTO

In an attempt to provide support for Boston citizens who have been traumatized by violent incidents, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh announced the launch of Neighborhood Trauma Teams Tuesday, according to a press release from Walsh’s office.

The NTTs will be supervised by the Boston Public Health Commission to provide individual and family crisis response services, short-term case management, coping groups and ongoing trauma recovery services, according to the release.

Ana Vivas, a spokesperson of BPHC, wrote in an email that the commission will provide support to a wide range of individuals.

“Participants in this program can include anyone from a person who has been a direct victim of a violent incident, to a family member of a victim, to a person who lives in a community where a violent incident has occurred,” Vivas wrote.

Vivas wrote the team model was proposed with the input of more than 350 residents, who gave their feedback and opinions in 14 listening sessions that the commission hosted.

We heard the concerns and needs of the community and did our best to respond in coordination with our network of community health centers and partners,” Vivas wrote.

Charlene Luma, a program director at the Justice Resource Institute’s SMART Team, said they have set up a 24-hour hotline for trauma cases. The hotline, which supports NTTs, is accessible to all Boston residents, including in areas where funded NTT’s are not present, Luma said.

“We’ll have a conversation with whoever is on the phone and ask specifically what’s going on, what the incident is, and what the specific needs are,” Luma said. “Some people call because an act of violence has occurred, and they want support on scene. Some people will call and make a referral for someone who’s been impacted by violence. Sometimes it’s people who just want to consult with us saying, ‘I’m dealing with this issue. How do I manage it?’”

Boston residents emphasized the importance of increased trauma response in the city.

Lori Nelson, 44, of Dorchester, said NTTs should be implemented throughout the country.

“I think it doesn’t matter if it’s Boston or any other city,” Nelson said. “Everybody is going through something — some more than others. No matter where you are, people need help. I’m glad Boston is providing support for these people who need it.”

Robert Collins, 48, of Brighton, said the NTTs are vital as some individuals do not have proper support in their lives.

“I don’t know a whole lot about these kinds of problems, but I’m aware that there are people who do face trauma in their lives,” Collins said. “Not everybody has a person who they can turn to. That’s why the city should support them with these teams.”

Deanna Moore, 24, of Brighton, said she is glad the city is stepping in as it is hard to know when someone is going through trauma.

“Sometimes, if they have faced something very traumatic, they can experience flashbacks,” Moore said. “You never know what someone is going through, so I think if they are hurting, the city should step in.”

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