TAPS Shares Message of Hope, Help, Healing for National Suicide Prevention Awareness

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - September 6, 2016

ARLINGTON, Va. - September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. For those who have lost a loved one in the military to suicide, this month represents helping others to save lives in the future.

"Suicide creates such a unique loss for those left behind. There can be so many questions and emotions that follow," said Kim Ruocco, TAPS Chief Officer for Suicide Prevention and Postvention. "But now that we know more about why our loved ones died be suicide, we can be there for others. There is hope. There is help. There is healing."

TAPS, along with DoD, the VA, the National Action Alliance, DSPO, SAMHSA, Joining Forces, and others, has created a public service announcement series for the month, including a PSA for television and web, a PSA for radio and PSA graphics for social media.

TAPS hosted a joint webinar with the National Action Alliance today at noon. The webinar, "Reporting and Messaging on Suicide in the Military" will help both journalists and those in the military community shape what we tell others and ourselves about suicide. Listen to the webinar.

World Suicide Prevention Day is Saturday, September 10. See Information on World Suicide Prevention Day for information and a complete list of events taking place.

To round out National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, TAPS will host the 2016 National Military Suicide Survivor Seminar in St. Pete's Beach, Fla., from Sept. 30 through Oct. 3. About 1,000 surviving family members, including nearly 200 surviving children and the TAPS Good Grief Camp Mentors they are paired with one-on-one to help them know they are still part of the military community, will gather for a weekend of connecting, learning coping skills and healing.

This National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, TAPS is using #HopeHelpHeal to accompany the #BeThere campaign from the Department of Veterans Affairs to share stories of those who have lost a loved one in the military to suicide. TAPS has a Facebook Frame as well, which can be found at www.facebook.com/profilepicframes. Select TAPS in the dropdown menu under "Causes" or find the frame pinned on the TAPS Facebook page timeline.

Find more information on #HopeHelpHeal and stories from survivors of suicide loss at www.taps.org/hopehelpheal.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please call 1.800.273.8255. Press 1 for military.

To interview a survivor of suicide loss in the military or Subject Matter Expert Kim Ruocco, contact Kelly Griffith at kelly.griffith@taps.org or 202.588.TAPS (8277).

While many surviving families are open to sharing their heroes' stories, TAPS asks that the media be mindful that some may need time to collect their thoughts. You can find tips on covering families and trauma at www.taps.org/media.

The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) is the is the national organization providing compassionate care for the families of America's fallen military heroes and has offered support to more than 60,000 surviving family members of our fallen military and their caregivers since 1994. TAPS provides peer-based emotional support, grief and trauma resources, healing seminars and retreats for adults, camps for children, casework assistance, connections to community-based care, online and in-person support groups and the 24/7 National Military Survivor Helpline at 800.959.TAPS (8277) available for all who have been affected by a death in the Armed Forces. Services are provided free of charge. For more information go to www.taps.org or call TAPS at 202.588.TAPS (8277).