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The Trauma Center Team

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, with the mission of providing 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).

Over the years, we have been on-site after many incidents to provide community outreach, consultation, and/or counseling to those in need. Notable examples include:

  • September 11th – we assisted the Red Cross in supporting Logan Airport employees and the families of passengers on the ill-fated planes that left from Boston.
  • The Boston Marathon bombing – we helped people who attended the Marathon as well as local residents and businesses.
  • Family Support Groups – In conjunction with Samaritans, Inc., we developed one of the first support groups in the country for family members of suicide attempt survivors.
  • Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico – we joined with our partner agency, Behavioral Health Network, and supported evacuees in the communities of Dedham and Springfield.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic – we deployed our trauma response and crisis intervention expertise in a statewide initiative through FEMA to bring behavioral health resources, information, and referrals to individuals and communities.

 

 

Trauma Center Staff

Larry Berkowitz, EdD, Director

Larry is the Co-Founder of Riverside Trauma Center. He has provided direct therapeutic services for over 30 years and managed mental health services for over 25 years. His clinical areas of expertise include work with children, adolescents, adults, and families who are trauma survivors and/or suicide survivors. He coordinates and provides disaster response services and post-suicide intervention for individuals, schools, workplaces, and communities, and conducts trainings on suicide prevention. Larry holds a doctoral degree in Counseling and Consulting Psychology from Harvard University and is a licensed Psychologist in Massachusetts. He is on the Executive Committee of the Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention, serves as the Co-Chair of the Northeast Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention, and holds an appointment as a Teaching Associate in Psychology, Part Time, at Harvard Medical School’s Department of Psychiatry.

James McCauley, LICSW, Assistant Program Director

As the Co-Founder and Assistant Program Director, Jim provides mental health support for schools, workplaces, and communities affected by traumatic events. He has consulted with numerous schools and communities in Massachusetts and New England on trauma responses. He provides consultations and trainings on suicide postvention services, suicide clusters, and suicide prevention coalitions. He has presented at statewide, national, and international conferences on these topics. He also has extensive experience providing therapy to children, adolescents, and adults and previously managed outpatient mental health clinics and programs for children for more than 20 years. Jim is a graduate of the Boston University School of Social Work and also was a Senior Lecturer in the Sociology Department at Suffolk University for more than 30 years. An Army veteran, he has a special interest in developing and providing services for returning vets.

Meritt Kelsey, LICSW, Director of Behavioral Health Initiatives

Meritt is a clinical social worker with over 15 years of experience in direct practice, supervision, and program leadership. Meritt’s work has focused on supporting diverse communities with complex trauma, including Somalian and Liberian refugees, newly resettled immigrants, and children and families with acute behavioral health and substance use needs.  She is a skilled clinician and supervisor with particular interest in workforce development within behavioral health settings.  She has been with MindWise’s parent company, Riverside Community Care, since 2014.  As the Director of Behavioral Health Initiatives, Meritt leads a team of clinical experts to develop and integrate programming that helps communities to prevent, manage, and respond to behavioral health needs across the lifespan.

Jenny Huynh, LMHC, Operations Manager

Since 2004, Jenny has been providing individual and family therapy services in various outreach settings. She started working at Riverside Community Care in 2008 as a home-based family therapist for Riverside Alternative Youth Service – a town funded home-based family services program. Her position evolved as the program grew and she took on the role of intake coordinator and on-call supervisor. Jenny’s wide range of skills make her indispensable to Riverside Trauma Center as she develops and manages fiscal systems; implements methods to improve daily productivity, efficiency, and organization; and supports the work of our staff by assisting with trainings, screenings, research and resource development, and critical incident responses. Jenny has a Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling from Suffolk University.

Waheeda Saif, LMHC, Program Coordinator

Waheeda has worked with adolescents and adults for over 10 years, providing therapy to survivors of abuse, sexual assault, and domestic violence. Prior to that, she served as a Guardian ad Litem for the Florida court system. She has been with Riverside Trauma Center since 2008, providing consultation after traumatic events, as well as conducting trainings on a range of issues regarding trauma and suicide. She served as a Team Leader in our FEMA-funded response to the tornados in central and western Massachusetts in 2011. Waheeda is trained specifically in trauma therapy modalities, including Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). She has a graduate degree in Mental Health Counseling from Boston College.

Tamiya Suell, Administrative Assistant

As a graduate of Pine Manor College, Tamiya has a B.A in Communications. Her background includes experience as a Marketing Coordinator, Administrative Assistant and a Peer Educator. In addition to her Communications degree, Tamiya is also a licensed Cosmetologist and has over 10 years of experience as a Hairstylist. A cancer survivor, Tamiya believes in making every day count. Her courage and resilience along with her compassion for others, allows Tamiya to serve as an advocate for the mental health community. She describes herself as a fun-loving person with a wonderful sense of humor.

Angelique Conto, LMHC, Senior Trauma Responder

For over a decade, it has been Angelique’s honor to work with individuals, families, & other social service professionals as a clinician specializing in addiction education & treatment. As a trauma-informed licensed mental health clinician (LMHC), she has served neglected & oppressed communities from a lens of racial & social justice via consulting, counseling, program management, crisis intervention & interdisciplinary care. Angelique has also served as a Social Service Advocate for the Committee for Public Counsel Services collaborating with individuals impacted by justice system challenges & she currently works as a private social service vendor there as well. Most recently she worked at HRiA helping to manage three statewide addiction information & referral Helplines for the states of Massachusetts, Illinois, & Vermont. Now at the Riverside Trauma Center, she conducts trainings & is a Trauma Responder providing support & consultation to individuals, communities, & schools after traumatic events. Angelique received her graduate degree at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology, now William James College, & her undergraduate degree from Northeastern University.

Stephanie Schweitzer Dixon, M.S., Suicide Prevention Specialist

Stephanie’s expertise is providing training and consultation to first responders and public safety personnel and suicide postvention consultation to communities and organizations helping suicide loss survivors. Stephanie has over fifteen years working with first responders. She assists the Massachusetts Suicide Postvention Taskforce in providing training and consultation to communities starting LOSS Teams. Stephanie has a master’s degree in Forensic Psychology with a concentration in Mental Health Workers, First Responders, and Disaster Teams from Nova Southeastern University. Stephanie is the Massachusetts Representative for the National Police Suicide Foundation and a member of the National LOSS Team Conference Planning Committee, where she presents at the annual conference.

Julia Bruss Campion, LCSW, Ed.M., Senior Manager of Trauma Informed Care

Julia is a clinical social worker with 10 years of experience in direct service and program management across diverse clinical and educational settings. As Senior Manager of Trauma Informed Care, Julia develops accessible trainings in trauma-informed practices. She works closely with schools, organizations, and workplaces to learn and implement trauma-informed systems of support. Julia started at Riverside Community Care in 2014 providing community-based Wraparound services within the Child and Family Services division. Julia served as the Program Director of Riverside’s Life Skills Center, a supportive, therapeutic program for adolescents presenting with major mental illness and experiencing disruptions in their homes, schools, and communities. She has experience working in trauma-informed interdisciplinary settings as both a clinician and educator, including community-based Wraparound services, a public defense practice, and public and therapeutic schools.

Rebecca Ames

Rebecca Ames, LICSW, Senior Clinical Manager

Rebecca has been with Riverside Community Care since 2008, working with adolescents, families, and communities in a variety of roles. She oversaw the first expansion of the MindWise SOS Signs of Suicide Program in the early 2010s and has gained additional clinical experience in palliative and end-of-life care. As Senior Clinical Manager, Rebecca leads national trainings on trauma, suicide prevention, resilience, and related mental health issues; as well as supports communities recovering from stressful events. She is a trained yoga and meditation teacher and certified in Reiki and Ayurvedic healing practices.