Families of Military Members Lost to Suicide Gather in Phoenix to Find Hope, Healing and Connection

TAPS Seminar Brings Together Grieving Military Families From Across the Country  


ARLINGTON, Va. – The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) will welcome nearly 1,000 attendees to its 11th annual TAPS National Military Suicide Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp from Oct. 11–14, 2019 in Phoenix. Made possible by the generous support of Boeing, New York Life Foundation, Wounded Warrior Project and Centene Corporation, the seminar will bring together hundreds of families grieving the loss of a military loved one to suicide to share their stories, learn ways to cope with their grief and find healing in their shared experiences.

“The grief that follows a suicide loss is uniquely complicated, and it’s important for those who have lost a loved one to suicide to connect with others who are experiencing a similar journey,” said Kim Ruocco, TAPS Vice President of Suicide Prevention & Postvention. “Families need to know they are not alone. At the TAPS National Military Suicide Survivor Seminar, grieving families from across the country will come together to learn more about how to cope with their loss, honor their loved one and find hope and healing together.”

For more than a decade, the TAPS Suicide Prevention & Postvention program has cared for some 13,500 survivors of suicide loss and developed best practices in suicide prevention and postvention. TAPS proactively deploys its postvention model of support within the military and veteran communities, both in the United States and abroad, and with civilian mental health professionals.

For adults, the seminar will feature sessions led by experts in the fields of suicide, grief and trauma. Throughout the weekend, families will get to know each other in a relaxed, welcoming setting where they can share memories of their fallen heroes and find comfort, hope and healing in hearing each other’s stories.

Children and teens at the seminar will attend the TAPS Good Grief Camp, where they will gain a network of friends who have also lost a family member to suicide. Experts in the fields of child development, mental health and education will help the children and young adults process their grief and embrace healing through games, crafts and other age-appropriate activities.

Active duty service members and recent veterans from the Phoenix area and beyond will volunteer as specially trained TAPS Military Mentors at the TAPS Good Grief Camp, providing one-to-one companionship and support to the children and helping them remain connected to the military community. For more information on volunteering as a TAPS Military Mentor, visit www.taps.org/militarymentor.


  • Bonnie Carroll, TAPS President and Founder
  • Kim Ruocco, TAPS Vice President of Suicide Prevention & Postvention and surviving spouse of U.S. Marine Corps Maj. John Ruocco
  • Dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC News Chief Medical Correspondent and guest speaker
  • Dr. Frank Campbell, national expert in the field of suicidology 
  • Leading suicide experts from the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs
  • Families grieving the death of a military loved one to suicide
  • Active duty service members and veterans mentoring children at the seminar


Please contact Victoria Leoni at victoria.leoni@taps.org or (571) 385-2570 to arrange interviews with TAPS staff or participants or attend any part of the seminar. Media covering this event should review safe messaging guidelines when reporting on suicide and may access the TAPS webinar, Reporting and Messaging on Suicide in the Military, for guidance.



The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) is the leading national organization providing compassionate care and survivor support services for the families of America’s fallen military heroes. Since 1994, TAPS has offered support to more than 90,000 survivors of fallen military in the form of 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 1.800.959.TAPS (8277).