Military Families Who Have Lost a Loved One to Suicide Gather in Florida to Find
Hope, Healing and Connection

TAPS welcomes over 1000 spouses, parents, children, siblings and battle buddies grieving the death of a service member

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - September 19, 2018

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) will welcome surviving parents, spouses, children, siblings and others grieving the death of a military loved one to its tenth annual TAPS National Military Suicide Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp on Oct. 5-8. The event will focus on providing support and resources to surviving families as they find hope connecting with fellow suicide loss survivors and sharing their personal stories of loss. The seminar will be held in the Tampa area at the Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, Florida.

“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 are experiencing a similar journey,” said Kim Ruocco, Vice President of Suicide Prevention and Postvention at TAPS. “Families need to know they are not alone. They will come from across the country to join us to learn more about how to cope with their loss, honor their loved one and find hope and healing together.”

This year’s seminar marks the 10th anniversary of the event, which highlights a groundbreaking program that came into existence as a result of increased suicide rates in the military and veteran population that began a decade ago. With more than 10,000 suicide loss survivors in its care, TAPS developed a number of best practices on suicide prevention and postvention which it proactively shares with organizations inside the military and veteran community and beyond in the civilian world.

In June, the Centers for Disease Control released a new report indicating suicide rates are up in nearly every state. In the past decade, the military and veteran community has dealt with a significant increase in the number of suicides and is actively working to address the problem. Additionally, the high-profile deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain earlier this year heightened public awareness of the suicide epidemic.

This year’s seminar will host nearly 1,000 adults and children, military mentors and professionals in the field of suicidology. For children, the seminar will include a TAPS Good Grief Camp, where children grieving the death of a parent or sibling who served in the Armed Forces will learn coping strategies and meet others who have experienced a similar loss. During the camp, the children will be paired one-on-one with military mentors who are TAPS-trained military Service Members, Guardsmen, Reservists or recently separated veterans who provide companionship to the young survivors and help to keep them connected to the military community.


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 80,000 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 or call the toll-free TAPS resource and information helpline at 202.588.TAPS (8277).


On Saturday, Oct. 6, Opening Ceremonies will be held from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. to welcome survivor families to the seminar.  Interviews are available following the ceremony with TAPS President and Founder Bonnie Carroll, TAPS Vice President of Suicide Prevention and Postvention Kim Ruocco, suicidology expert Dr. Frank Campbell and surviving military families attending the event.

On Sunday, Oct. 7, a panel discussion on faith and suicide loss will take place from 9 to 11 a.m. The panel will include faith leaders and experts.

FOR INTERVIEWS: Bonnie Carroll, TAPS President and Founder
                            Kim Ruocco, TAPS Vice President of Suicide Prevention and Postvention, and
                            surviving wife of Marine Corps Maj. John Ruocco
                            Dr. Frank Campbell, expert in the field of suicidology
                            Surviving military families who lost a loved one to suicide

Please email Rita Barry-Corke at or call her at O: (202) 588-8722 (TAPS), C: (860) 304-1807 to arrange interviews with TAPS staff or participants or attend any part of the seminar.
Media covering this event should be familiar with safe messaging guidelines surrounding reporting on suicide, or may access the TAPS webinar, Reporting and Messaging on Suicide in the Military for guidance.