October 13, 2022 By Ally Donnelly
Aileen Walsh counseled victims after a car plowed through the Sweet Tomatoes pizza parlor, killing two people, injuring seven and traumatizing many others in Newton in 2016. She’s stood at the ready as officers notified families of a loved one’s untimely death. She helped care for terrified residents after a man barricaded himself in an apartment at the Hingham Shipyard and fired on officers below. She’s helped keep young people out of jail, getting them into treatment instead. And now, she’s in Hingham to stay.
Walsh is Hingham’s new Community Crisis Response Clinician, embedded within the Hingham Police Department. The social worker is an immediate outlet and advocate for families in crisis, be it a teen struggling with drug abuse, an adolescent threatening to harm themselves, a survivor of domestic or other abuse or anyone experiencing trauma. “I’m seeing that I’m getting involved with 30 to 40 new clients every week,” she said. “That is a larger number than I think people would have expected in Hingham–just Hingham.”
Families can reach out to Walsh and get immediate help and that is an invaluable resource as the mental health crisis in the country grows more dire and therapists and other clinicians are already overloaded with cases. “I’m available to go in the moment and assess and individual and provide services,” Walsh said. Instead of a family taking a child in crisis to the emergency department, Walsh can assess them immediately, “And hook them up to any mental health or substance abuse services they might need in the moment.”
She calls herself mental health 911 and is ready and anxious to help Hingham families in need. Listen to our conversation here: