"Postvention is a critical component of any comprehensive suicide prevention strategy."~ Kim Ruocco, surviving spouse of U.S. Marine Corps Major John Ruocco
Suicide Loss Support: We've Got You
TAPS has supported thousands of survivors of military suicide loss by offering them hope, healing, and renewed opportunities for personal growth. If you’ve lost a military loved one to suicide, you've come to the right place. We've got you. At TAPS, we understand that suicide grief is different. We know you are struggling with a range of powerful emotions and wrestling with very complicated questions. Why did this happen? Where do I go from here?
Fortunately, you are not alone on this journey. We are survivors just like you. We have been down the road you are traveling. Let us help you best honor your loved one’s life. TAPS special resources and programming provide compassionate care to all survivors of military suicide loss. Our unique approach will help stabilize you and your family, guide you through "healthy grief," and put you on a path toward healing and growth.
We are you. You are us. Let's heal together.
You are not alone.
Grief can feel very isolating, but you don't have to walk this journey alone. We've been down the road you're traveling, and we are here for you.
You will NOT always feel this much pain.
As time passes, the hurt you feel now will change. We know from experience that your emotional pain will subside and soften with time. It won't always feel like it does right now.
Most people who die by suicide do not want to die. They want their pain to end.
Whatever pain brought our loved ones to end their lives, it inhibited them from thinking clearly and from fully comprehending the heartbreak their suicides would cause.
Suicide is the "perfect storm" event.
Suicide is rarely the result of just one person, conversation, or event. It usually involves multiple, complex factors that culminate in a "perfect storm."
You can’t prevent what you can’t predict.
There was no way you could have known it would happen that very day, at that precise moment. You cannot control the thoughts and actions of others.
Eventually, the questions will cease to be so all encompassing.
"Why?" "What if?" Most of us who have experienced suicide loss wrestle with these and other questions for a long time. This is normal. It helps us to learn enough "to suffice," to process our thoughts so that we can eventually find peace.
What you tell yourself matters.
How you talk to yourself about what happened can shape the experience of your grief journey. Trust what you know about your loved one, and choose to tell yourself the story that best helps you heal.
Suicide is not a reflection of love.
People who die by suicide may have believed they were a burden to the people they loved. They thought that their families would be better off without them. Whereas we know this to be untrue, our loved ones could not see clearly through the fog of their emotional pain.
How you cope with this is up to you.
You didn't choose for this to happen to you, but you do get to decide how to respond to it. You have a say in how you heal.
Love never ends.
When your loved one died, the love you shared didn't just stop. Your relationship continues. Keep the memories alive in all that you do.
For survivors in need of immediate suicide postvention support, please contact us at 800-959-8277.
January 2021: TAPS has published a peer-reviewed article in the field-leading scholarly journal Death Studies. Read “TAPS Suicide Postvention ModelTM: A Comprehensive Framework of Healing and Growth" to learn about our three-phase approach to care that is beneficial to both survivors and providers in the aftermath of a death by suicide. This document is the culmination of a more than decade of care to thousands of survivors of military and veteran suicide loss.
Listen to surviving dad Frank Larkin share lessons learned on the lookback in an effort to save lives in honor of his son, Ryan.
Death is not the defining feature of a life. On the contrary. TAPS has created special resources and programming that provide compassionate care to survivors so they can best honor their loved one’s entire story.
One weekend each fall, TAPS suicide loss survivors gather at a resort to continue the work of healing. The program includes peer-to-peer grief support, access to resources and experts, grief workshops, art therapy, family entertainment, and LOVE.
TAPS staff, who are trained and caring survivors, reach out to new surviving family members as peer professionals. These trained and caring survivors understand well the road you are traveling. They are available around the clock to help.
Suicide loss survivors are paired with peer mentors who have themselves experienced a loss due to suicide. Our peer mentors are there to listen when you need someone to talk to, to be a friend when you're feeling lonely, and to celebrate the triumphs.
TAPS hosts a live online chat the 2nd Monday of each month for just suicide loss survivors that is moderated by our suicide survivor staff members, as well as other ways to stay connected virtually. Join us to learn more.
TAPS Casework Advocates provide compassionate and responsive support in navigating issues regarding military survivor benefits and finances. We help point you on the path to long-term stability.
At TAPS, we rely on a large network of strong community partners, and we are confident we can connect you with grief and trauma resources specific to your needs.
Our education support coordinators can help explain benefits, identify scholarships, work with you to align resources and education goals, and provide talking points to schools, colleges, and universities.
to access some of our most important resources to address the unique needs related to suicide loss.
Telling a child about suicide can be daunting. Read some suggestions to help you navigate this difficult subject.
Describes what suicide postvention is along with helpful information you should know now.
This three-phase model is a best-practice approach to postvention care for survivors of suicide loss.
If you are looking to find support (not military-oriented) after suicide loss in your family, here are some helpful tips on how:
Do an online search (on Google, etc) for phrases such as:
- suicide survivor support near me
- grief support after suicide loss
- help for after a suicide
- suicide grief
- suicide loss
- survivors of suicide loss
This should bring up a mix of national and local resources such as websites, state programs, local organizations and lists of support groups for suicide loss survivors that meet in your area.
If you are looking for a specific type of support, such as for children or siblings of someone who died by suicide, add those words into your Google search.
Find books on suicide loss at your local library or bookstore. Searching by some of the above terms and phrases should bring up books about suicide loss; they may be located in a “self-help” or psychology section of your bookstore or library.
If you see or have contact with a mental health professional, such as a counselor, therapist or social worker, ask if they can refer you to suicide grief-specific support in your area. You can also ask your faith leader if they know of any such supports in your community.
You can also check your state’s government website for information on support in your community. Support for suicide loss survivors may fall under your state’s public health or mental health departments; these websites may list information regarding local supports and initiatives regarding survivors.
Also, many states have suicide prevention coalitions (state-wide or even broken down into smaller geographic areas of the state) that can offer resources and other ways to get involved in their initiatives, such as around policy advocacy and state funding for programs.
NOTE: The TAPS website is not intended as an intervention for those who may be in crisis. If you or someone you know are experiencing behaviors or thoughts of suicide, help is available. Please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
For All Survivors
See additional resources on mental health, suicide prevention and postvention.
Hear from those who have been down the road you are traveling. See additional articles on suicide loss.
Leatherneck Magazine: This is the first in a two-part series that covers the work of TAPS.
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TAPS helps survivors find a stable, healthy path to healing, allowing them to establish a new life after loss.