Holding a Safe Space for Men

Author: Lalaine Estella

What we’ve come to know at TAPS is that men and women grieve differently. Men can be more stoic and reserved, while women are more expressive. While men in general tend to grieve more privately, women often feel more comfortable grieving with the support of others. Men often wear a public face of strength hoping not to show their pain, but in reality,  they need just as much care and support after losing someone they love. 

TAPS programming for men was created to give men the space to come together to navigate their emotions and express grief in a welcoming, safe place. Our programs focus on providing opportunities for surviving men to connect with each other and find comfort with those who have also experienced the loss of a loved one who served, said Gabriel S. Rao, manager of TAPS Men’s Programs.

Peer Mentor and Suicide Survivor Don Lipstein with portrait of son JoshSurviving father Don Lipstein, a staff member on the TAPS Survivor Care Team, is shown at home holding a photo of his son, Navy MA2 Joshua Lipstein. Photo: Pablo Piedra

“We have an ever-growing population of men who are coming to TAPS,” Gabriel said. “We have family members, battle buddies, military mentors, friends who are grieving, and they are finding their way to us. We hear them, and we can give their grief a voice.” Gabriel came to TAPS after the losing his brother, Sgt. Elijah Rao, in Afghanistan in 2009. 

For some survivors, meeting others in person brings a level of comfort and connection that can’t be found anywhere else. When you come to our TAPS regional and national seminars, you find support groups and activities just for men. In addition to seminars, TAPS offers men's retreats and adventurous expeditions designed to help men to heal. For those who want to connect from home, TAPS offers a monthly online video chat group run by surviving father Don Lipstein. He is a TAPS Survivor Care Team staff member who lost his son, Joshua, to suicide in 2011. 

The TAPS Institute for Hope and Healing is offering a webinar next month addressing how men handle their grief. It is open to anyone who has suffered loss. The webinar is free, but registration is required to receive details on accessing the webinar. 

“We are always looking for better ways to serve men who are grieving,” Gabriel said. These programs were created to better meet their needs.” 

If you have questions or would like to know more about men-specific programming at TAPS, email info@taps.org


Upcoming Events 

Video Chat: Men Only
9-10:30 p.m. Eastern Wednesday January 23, 2019

Join us for this special forum dedicated solely to men where you can connect and talk with others who have experienced the loss of a loved one. This video chat occurs regularly on the fourth Wednesday of every month. Hosted by Don Lipstein. 

Webinar: Men, Grief and Post-trumatic Growth
12-1:30 p.m. Eastern Tuesday February 12, 2019

Presented by the TAPS Institute for Hope and Healing, this webinar with presenters Bret Moore, PysD, ABPP, John Feal and moderator Kenneth Doka, PhD, will have a specific focus on how veterans and military families can work towards posttraumatic growth after a loss. This webinar is appropriate for the bereaved and those who support them, including family members and friends. 


Coming Up: Men’s Retreats and Expeditions

Stay tuned and please check our events calendar for updates on when and where men’s retreats and expeditions will be held this year.