Trauma & Resiliency

What is Trauma?

As more attention focuses on the impact of trauma on children, adolescents, and adults, at times it is difficult to differentiate between dangerous or scary situations and traumatic events. In addition, it can be difficult to assess normal versus problematic reactions to those experiences. People live with dangers on a daily basis and, over time, gather information to be able to manage or avoid danger and make their lives safer. However, danger becomes traumatic when the event or situation overwhelms the ability to cope with what has happened.

Individuals can experience trauma when they: experience a serious injury to themselves or the injury or death of someone else; face the imminent threat of harm to themselves or someone else; or endure a violation of personal or physical well-being. These situations are considered acute traumatic events because the situations are short-lived. Examples could include the sudden or violent death of a loved one, a serious accident (e.g. car accident), a physical or sexual assault, or a natural disaster. Short-term traumatic situations often bring forward feelings for everyone of terror, horror or helplessness.

In other cases, someone may experience a chronic traumatic situation, in which the trauma occurs repeatedly over long periods of time. Examples include long-standing physical or sexual abuse, domestic violence, or living where there is warfare. More prolonged exposure to trauma can lead to feelings of intense fear, loss of trust in others, a decreased sense of personal safety, guilt and shame. Individuals who have experienced traumatic events are at an increased risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and other psychiatric conditions. Individuals who have experienced early childhood trauma are also at an increased risk of suffering from depression and anxiety compared to those who have experienced trauma as an adult. (Chu, et al. 2013)

Resource Organizations » Trauma and Resiliency » Westwood

In Massachusetts

Organizations with hotlines

Massachusetts Advocates for Children:Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative

Helpline: 617-357-8431 ext 224



The Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative's (TLPI) mission is to ensure that children traumatized by exposure to family violence and other adverse childhood experiences succeed in school. To accomplish this mission, TLPI engages in a host of advocacy strategies including: legislative advocacy, administrative advocacy, coalition building, outreach and education, research and report writing, and limited individual case representation in special education where a child's traumatic experiences are interfacing with his or her disabilities.

Massachusetts Office of Victim Assistance

Hotline: 844-878-6682

Office: 617-586-1340


The mission of the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance (MOVA) is to advocate for and assist victims of crime across the Commonwealth. Victims and their families are often traumatized, confused and uncertain about where to turn for help. Victims can receive assistance through MOVA's Service Programs, the SAFEPLAN Program (for victims seeking protection from abuse), and through the Help Directory. The Victim Services Coordinator can provide referrals to appropriate programs, service providers, information, and advocacy organizations to help victims better understand the justice system.

Riverside Trauma Center

Trauma Helpline: 888-851-2451

Referral Line: 781-433-0672 x 5738

Riverside Trauma Center, a service of Riverside Community Care, helps people in many Massachusetts communities recover from the overwhelming stress caused by traumatic events, including natural disasters, serious accidents, suicides, homicides, and terrorism by providing community outreach and counseling. We also educate communities and organizations about suicide prevention, psychological trauma, and the emotional needs of returning veterans. We serve communities, schools, health and human services providers, organizations, government agencies, workplaces, and individuals.

Organizations without hotlines

Adults and Children Together Against Violence (ACT)

(800) 374-2721

(202) 336-5500

Nearly a half century of research has shown that violence is a learned behavior, often learned when a child is very young. But the skills of violence prevention can also be learned at a young age. ACT emphasizes that the early years are critical for learning and that the adults in children's lives can be the primary teachers of violence prevention. The ACT program mission is to educate communities and adults to create safe, healthy environments that protects children and youth from violence. It accomplishes its mission by disseminating research-based information and skills to adults in simple, accessible, user-friendly messages and materials.

Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts

(508) 475-0032

1-800-242-0030 (Toll-Free)

TTY: (508) 948-0593


The Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts provides support services to brain injury survivors and their families, offers programs to prevent brain injuries, educates the public on the risks and impact of brain injury, and advocates for legislation and improved community services.

BRIK (Building Resilience in Kids)


Building Resilience in Kids (BRIK) is a small non-profit helping children who have been stressed by poverty and trauma. We help children directly and through their caregivers to build resilience. BRIK offers workshops and programs that allow children to express themselves creatively while building positive relationships with those around them.

Children’s League of Massachusetts

(617) 695-1991

The Children's League of Massachusetts is a statewide non-profit association of over 80 private and public organizations and individuals that collectively advocate for public policies and quality services that are in the best interest of the Commonwealth's children, youth and families. It is through public education and advocacy that the Children's League promotes the availability, accessibility, and quality of these needed services.

Horizons for Homeless Children


617-553-5488 (Playspace Program Office)


Horizons for Homeless Children improves the lives of homeless children by providing early care and education in our Community Children's Centers, creating Playspaces (recreational spaces) in shelters throughout Massachusetts and recruiting thousands of volunteers to help us in our efforts. Horizons for Homeless Children is a leader in advocating for homeless children and their families.

MGH Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders


The Center is investigating the efficacy of treatments for Panic Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Complicated Grief, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder, while seeking to learn more about the underlying causes and course of Anxiety Disorders.

National Center for PTSD

(802) 296-6300 (Information Voicemail Line)


The National Center for PTSD is dedicated to excellence in research and education on the prevention, understanding, and treatment of PTSD. Its purpose is to improve the well-being and understanding of veterans and others suffering from PTSD. The website includes the definition of PTSD, fact sheets on topics related to PTSD, and information of finding professional help.

Safe Havens: Interfaith Partnership Against Domestic Violence

617- 951-3980


Safe Havens works with diverse faith congregations across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and across the U.S. to promote safe and effective faith-based responses to domestic violence. Safe Havens' staff and Advisory Board include faith community members, domestic violence service providers, and business experts. Safe Havens work collaboratively to help faith communities, and faith leaders identify domestic violence, as well as elder abuse, and respond appropriately.  They also help to support and coordinate access to Domestic Violence Shelters across the state.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness - Veteran and Service Member Resources


Toll Free: 800-370-9085 (M-F 9am-5pm)

Fax: 617-580-8673


The National Alliance on Mental Illness maintains a helpline for information on mental illnesses and referrals to local groups. The local self-help groups have support and advocacy components and offer education and information about community services for diverse communities comprising of LGBTQ individuals, veterans, active duty military members, teens, young adults, older adults and families. Local chapters can be found through the main website. For information about the Alliance's affiliates and activities in MA, contact NAMI Massachusetts.

Outside Massachusetts

Organizations with hotlines

ChildHelp National Child Abuse Hotline



The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453) is dedicated to the prevention of child abuse. Serving the United States, its territories, and Canada, the hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with professional crisis counselors who, through interpreters, can provide assistance in over 170 languages. The hotline offers crisis intervention, information, literature, and referrals to thousands of emergency, social service, and support resources. All calls are confidential.

Organizations without hotlines

American Trauma Society

Toll Free: 800-556-7890

Local: 703-538-3544


The American Trauma Society (ATS) is a leading spokes-organization for trauma care and trauma prevention in the United States. The ATS has been the foremost advocate for trauma victims and their families for the past 30 years and continues to seek optimal care for all trauma victims. The ATS has dedicated its time and resources to the formation and operation of trauma systems across this country. Many members of the ATS are members of trauma teams in communities across the country. They are active in their communities and often are politically active, advocating trauma systems to their governments; federal, state and local. The ATS strongly supports national and state legislation that creates and maintains trauma systems. It works closely with the U.S. Congress, various federal agencies and with the office of the President, supporting legislative and administrative efforts that address the financial and legal issues surrounding trauma. The ATS provides critical information on trauma to its members, to policy makers, and to the public. It supports the needs of families. It is also a strong supporter of injury prevention, creating and producing programs and providing these programs to its members.

Authentic Happiness


Authentic Happiness is the homepage of Dr. Martin Seligman, Director of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania and founder of positive psychology, a branch of psychology which focuses on the empirical study of such things as positive emotions, strengths-based character, and healthy institutions.Positive psychology theory and research has been applied across many domains, from education to health to neuroscience. Now on Authentic Happiness you can read overviews of some of the largest initiatives currently underway, including: positive health, positive education, comprehensive soldier fitness, positive psychotherapy, and positive neuroscience.




BrainLine is a national multimedia project offering information and resources about preventing, treating, and living with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). BrainLine includes a series of webcasts, an electronic newsletter, and an extensive outreach campaign in partnership with national organizations concerned about traumatic brain injury. BrainLine serves anyone whose life has been affected by TBI. That includes people with brain injury, their families, professionals in the field, and anyone else in a position to help prevent or ameliorate the toll of TBI.

Childhood Violent Trauma Center (CVTC)

Toll Free: 877-496-2238

Phone: 203-785-7047

It is the mission of the National Center for Children Exposed to Violence (NCCEV) to increase the capacity of individuals and communities to reduce the incidence and impact of violence on children and families; to train and support the professionals who provide intervention and treatment to children and families affected by violence; and, to increase professional and public awareness of the effects of violence on children, families, communities and society. The NCCEV serves as a national forum for exploring issues surrounding children's exposure to violence and a partner in national collaborations across the country in urban, suburban and rural areas. The NCCEV offers training, technical assistance and consultation to a variety of collaborative community programs. It also provides a wide range of specialized interventions and services. The NCCEV website includes comprehensive information on children and violence.

International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies



ISTSS is an international organization that promotes advancement and exchange of knowledge about severe stress and trauma. This knowledge includes understanding the scope and consequences of traumatic exposure, preventing traumatic events and ameliorating their consequences, and advocating for the field of traumatic stress. ISTSS is dedicated to the discovery and dissemination of knowledge about policy, program and service initiatives that seek to reduce traumatic stressors and their immediate and long-term consequences. ISTSS provides a forum for the sharing of research, clinical strategies, public policy concerns and theoretical formulations on trauma in the United States and around the world. The ISTSS website provides multimedia information and resources for the general public on traumatic stress.

Man Therapy

Man Therapy is giving men a resource they desperately need: a resource to help men understand the realities of suicide and mental health, in the hopes of helping put a stop to the suicide deaths of so many. This interactive website featuring "Dr. Rich Mahogany" provides psychoeducational information geared towards men about stress, anger, depression, substance abuse and suicide, as well as tools to manage these concerns. It also includes an "18 point head inspection" where men can take a survey about how they are coping, and there is a provider search screen with options from groups and active activities to lists of professional counselors.

National Child Traumatic Stress Network

(310) 235-2633 (CA Office)

(919) 682-1552 (NC Office)

Established by Congress in 2000, the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) is a unique collaboration of academic and community-based service centers whose mission is to raise the standard of care and increase access to services for traumatized children and their families across the United States. Combining knowledge of child development, expertise in the full range of child traumatic experiences, and attention to cultural perspectives, the NCTSN serves as a national resource for developing and disseminating evidence-based interventions, trauma-informed services, and public and professional education. The website includes information on the types of traumatic stress and resources for parents and caregivers whose children are experiencing traumatic stress.

National Native Children's Trauma Center

(406) 243-2644


The mission of the National Native Childhood Trauma Center is to address high rates of traumatic stress amongst American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) children by working under the guidance of U.S. tribal nations in implementing, adapting and evaluating trauma interventions. This work requires understanding, respect and honoring of tribal sovereignty, specific community needs and the use of traditional healing practices. The goals of the Center are to significantly increase and disseminate the number of culturally-relevant, evidence-based interventions for use with AI/AN children (particularly interventions to be delivered in schools) and disseminate these interventions nationally, both on and off reservations and within NCTSN; develop a network of culturally competent, trained educators, mental health providers, and law enforcement personnel who can meet the needs of AI/AN children who experience traumatic stress; and increase the amount of research detailing the processes through which AI/AN children experience and cope with traumatic stress.

Project Semicolon



"Project Semicolon is an organization devoted to the prevention of suicide. Our work is based on the foundation and belief that suicide is preventable and everyone has a role to play in preventing suicide. Through raising public awareness, educating communities, and equipping every person with the right tools, we know we can save lives."


This organization also provides information and resources about other mental health topics and disorders as well as the chance to share one's own story, personal screenings tools, and helps one find services right on their website.

Resilience Solutions Group

(480) 727-5195


The Resilience Solutions Group is an interdisciplinary team of researchers, educators and public health-minded citizens united in their commitment to helping individuals and communities become more resilient.

Search Institute



Search Institute is a leading global innovator in discovering what children and adolescents need to become caring, healthy, and responsible adults. Drawing on extensive research, Search Institute brings hopeful solutions to pressing challenges in the lives of young people and their communities.

Solace for Mothers: Healing After Traumatic Birth

Solace for Mothers is an organization designed for the sole purpose of providing and creating support for women who have experienced childbirth as traumatic. The resources available through this site offer immediate, personal support to mothers and others who are struggling with birth trauma, PTSD after childbirth and anxiety caused by their birthing experiences. If you believe that you have been traumatized by your experiences of giving birth to your child, or by witnessing a birth of someone else’s child, Solace for Mothers has resources and supportive communities available for you. We are pleased to host two online communities where women and those who support them can connect around birth trauma concerns.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Phone: 877-726-4727

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Resilience and Stress Management Resource Collection can be utilized during any situation, whether it is dealing with financial stress, recovering from a natural disaster, or coping with the loss of a family member or friend. The collection provides a knowledge base for understanding the concept of resilience, as well as the concept of stress and stress management. It emphasizes stress management as a promoter of resilience and the importance of fostering resilience to be psychologically prepared when stressful life events occur.

The Birth Trauma Association

The Birth Trauma Association (BTA) was established in 2004 to support women suffering from Post Natal Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or birth trauma. The organization's staff are not trained counsellors or therapists or medical professionals; they are mothers who wish to support other women who have suffered difficult births.  The BTA aims to offer advice and support to all women who are finding it hard to cope with their childbirth experience.  The website includes information for mothers, fathers, and family members about Post Natal PTSD, information about how to connect with other Mom's who have had similar experiences to get support, as well as lists of resources, including books and websites, that may be helpful to families experiencing Post Natal PTSD.

Trauma Survivors Network



The Trauma Survivors Network (TSN) is a community of patients and families who are looking to connect with one another and rebuild their lives after a serious injury. The TSN is committed to providing valuable, practical information and referral; connecting survivors with peer mentors and support groups; enhancing survivor skills to manage day to day challenges; developing on-line communities of support and hope for trauma survivors and their families and friends; and training health care providers to deliver the best care and support to patients and their families and friends. Membership in the TSN is free for trauma survivors and their friends and families.