Suicide Prevention Experts Available for Interview

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - September 3, 2019

OVERVIEW: Suicide is in the headlines almost every day, with high-profile celebrities like Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain having taken their lives in the last year, along with survivors of the Parkland and Sandy Hook mass shootings and veterans, who we continue to lose to suicide at a rate of roughly 20 every day.

For more than a decade, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) has developed a robust suicide prevention and postvention program that has provided care to more than 12,000 family members grieving the loss of a service member to suicide. The groundbreaking TAPS Suicide Postvention Model of Support provides a range of immediate services to bereaved family members and loved ones in the aftermath of a suicide, helping to set them on a stable and hopeful path to healing while navigating the complicated grief associated with suicide loss.

National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month is observed in September, and experts from the TAPS Suicide Prevention & Postvention team are available to provide subject matter expertise on topics including:

  • The status of suicide prevention efforts in the military
  • The increased suicide risk among those who have lost a loved one to suicide
  • The groundbreaking TAPS Suicide Postvention Model of Support, widely recognized as a highly successful, empirical method of support
  • How the suicide prevention and postvention work of TAPS in the military population has informed suicide prevention efforts in the greater civilian population
  • How to discuss, portray and report on suicide safely in ways that minimize risk to vulnerable individuals, including in movies, television shows and other popular entertainment

For more information and resources related to National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, visit and follow the social media campaign using #SPM19.


  • Kim Ruocco, MSW is the TAPS Vice President of Suicide Prevention & Postvention and an active contributor to suicide prevention efforts in civilian as well as military organizations. She serves as the co-lead on the National Action Alliance Task Force for Military and Veterans, is a member of the Suicide Prevention Resource Center steering committee and has testified before the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. Ruocco is an international speaker who uses her education, personal experience and information gathered from thousands of service members and bereaved military families to help others more fully understand suicide. Through her work with TAPS, Ruocco has developed comprehensive, peer-based programs that offer comfort and care to all those grieving the loss of a service member to suicide. She holds a B.A. in Human Services and Psychology from the University of Massachusetts and a Master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from Boston University. She is the surviving widow of Marine Corps Maj. John Ruocco, who died by suicide in 2005.                                                                                                                                                  
  • Shauna Springer, Ph.D., is a former VA psychologist with particular expertise in trauma recovery, innovative suicide prevention approaches, relationship counseling, peer support program development, and veterans’ issues, including post-discharge adjustment and strategies for engaging veterans in behavioral health care. Dr. Springer is a licensed psychologist with an undergraduate degree from Harvard University and a Doctoral degree from the University of Florida. She draws from a unique combination of professional expertise and survivors’ “lived experience” to shine new light on the critical questions that have challenged military leaders and veteran organizations for decades.                                               
  • Dr. Carla Stumpf-Patton is a subject matter expert concerning issues of grief, trauma, and suicide; she presents on the topic and consults with civilian providers and military leaders in providing effective outreach and clinical care to military personnel, veterans, and military families. She is trained in suicide first aid through ASIST, as well as Psychological Autopsy Investigations through the American Association for Suicidology. Dr. Stumpf-Patton holds a B.S. in Psychology, a M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Guidance Counseling, and a Doctorate of Education in Counseling Psychology. She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Certified Thanatologist, National Certified Counselor, Certified Clinical Trauma Professional, Florida Qualified Supervisor, and counseling educator in higher academia. Dr. Stumpf-Patton is the surviving spouse of Marine Corps Drill Instructor Sgt. Richard Stumpf, a Gulf War veteran who died by suicide in 1994, several days before their only child was born.


To request an interview with an expert from the TAPS Suicide Prevention & Postvention team, or to connect with a military family bereaved by suicide loss, please contact TAPS Vice President of Media Relations, Rita Barry-Corke, at or (860) 304-1807.


TAPS previously hosted a webinar, "Reporting and Messaging on Suicide in the Military," that helps both journalists and those in the military service community speak about suicide using safe messaging. The webinar can now be accessed here. In addition, Safe Messaging Guidelines for reporting on suicide can be accessed at

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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 85,000 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, case work 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 1.800.959.TAPS (8277).