9th Annual National Military Suicide Survivor Seminar Provided an Opportunity to Find Hope, Healing and Connection for Families Who Have Lost a Loved One to Military Suicide

TAPS event in Phoenix welcomed military widows, parents, children, siblings and battle buddies grieving the death of a service member 


ARLINGTON, Va. -– The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) recently held its 9th annual National Military Suicide Survivor Seminar in Phoenix, welcoming over 1,000 participants, including surviving parents, spouses, children, siblings, friends, battle buddies and other family members grieving the death of a military loved one by suicide.

“Military families grieving a suicide loss came together from all 50 states to share their loved one’s life and service, connect with others who understand their loss, and find hope and healing in the Arizona desert,” said Bonnie Carroll, TAPS President and Founder. “We honor the life and service of these families’ loved ones. TAPS offers survivors the opportunity to grieve without judgment, remember with unconditional love, and find a community of compassionate care who will grieve with them. We remember their loved one’s service to the nation, their service in combat or on the home front. They were a volunteer, a member of a free nation who came and joined our ranks to defend this country.”

“The grief that follows a suicide loss is uniquely complicated, and it’s important for those who have lost a military loved one to suicide to connect with others who have experienced a similar loss,” said Kim Ruocco, Vice President of Suicide Prevention and Postvention at TAPS. “Families who attended left the seminar knowing they are not alone.”

The seminar included more than 150 children who participated in the TAPS Good Grief Camp, where children grieving the death of a parent or sibling learned coping strategies and met others who have experienced a similar loss. During the camp the children were paired one-on-one with military volunteers who served as individual mentors, providing an important connection to the loved ones’ military service and reassuring the children that their lives and sacrifices will never be forgotten. Many of the military mentors were active-duty service members who came from Luke Air Force Base, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and Fort Huachuca in Arizona, as well as coming from Peterson Air Force Base, Schriever Air Force Base and Fort Carson in Colorado, while the remainder were Reservists or recently separated veterans.


The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) is the national organization providing compassionate care for the families of America’s fallen military heroes and has offered support to more than 70,000 surviving family members of our fallen military and their caregivers since 1994. TAPS provides peer-based emotional support, grief and trauma resources, grief seminars and retreats for adults, Good Grief Camps for children, casework assistance, connections to community based care, online and in-person support groups and a 24/7 resource and information helpline 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 the toll-free TAPS resource and information helpline at 202.588.TAPS (8277).