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Boston's Neighborhood Trauma Team helps communities deal with violence

BOSTON - After the news cameras, crime scene tape and police go away, there are often communities left behind to pick up the pieces.

The Boston Public Health Commission has a division aimed at curbing the trauma for those families impacted by tragic loss. The Neighborhood Trauma Team is spread throughout the city of Boston and consists of roughly 20 community organizations. Together, the organizations support the NTT's mission of providing immediate to long-term care for individuals who experienced trauma as a result of violence in the community.

"A lot of the community members have been grieving all of their lives, and they don't know that," said Catia Mendes. She has lived in Dorchester for 30 years and has been a member of the Neighborhood Trauma Team for four years. CBS Boston

The NTT said in 2020 they received 226 calls for service. That number reflected a 95% increase from the year prior.

Catia Mendes has lived in Dorchester for about 30 years and has served with the NTT for four of them.

"A lot of the community members have been grieving all of their lives, and they don't know that," said Mendes. "A lot of times I think people need the education of what is happening to them because people just don't know. You would be surprised at the age that people don't know what PTSD is."

Mendes has been on countless crime scenes providing real-time assistance to grieving families and community members.

Efrain Arias is the program director for NTT and said they receive one call a week on average.

"Over the summer months, it is a little bit more than that," said Arias. "Maybe like two to three incidents? I would say that the summer months are our busiest time of year."

Tara Curry is a pastor in Dorchester and works with the NTT.

"I do it because I know it is a call for my life. I know that there is something in me to give to others," said Curry. "I am someone that says when I get to heaven, I want to be empty because I gave it all here. We don't have control of crime; we don't have control of things that happen in the world, but we can try to be impactful as best as we can." 

The NTT hotline is 617-431-0125.

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