Suicide Loss Survivor Assistance
Death by suicide leaves behind a wake of emotions and challenges that complicate an already painful grieving process. Many of us ask the questions: "Why did this happen?" We worry that our loved ones will be remembered for how they died instead of how they lived and served.
However, death is not the defining feature of a life. Suicide loss survivors have a safe space within TAPS to remember, honor, and grieve their loved one's entire story. Special TAPS programming and resources provide gentle, understanding support as we work through the complicated emotions associated with this type of loss. TAPS suicide loss survivors have become a family who are walking this journey together and will welcome you with open arms.
TAPS Suicide Postvention Model©
The word “postvention” may be new for many of us. Postvention is the act of caring for those who are bereaved by suicide. It was created because it became evident that losing a loved one to suicide is a different kind of journey. For more than a decade, TAPS has developed and refined a highly effective best-practice Postvention Model. This model provides a roadmap to move from surviving to healing to thriving after loss. It was created based on best practices in trauma, grief, and peer-to-peer support and was refined and tweaked by thousands of survivors who have found hope, healing, and growth in this program.
For survivors in need of immediate suicide postvention support, please contact us at 800-959-8277.
Resources, Programming, and Events
TAPS offers a range of resources, programs and events throughout the year that support all types of military loss. Suicide loss survivors are welcome to join any programming within TAPS. However, they are encouraged to start with programming that includes a focus on suicide loss specifically. Below are some short descriptions of programs and resources that include suicide loss.
National Military Suicide Survivor Seminar
Each fall, hundreds of TAPS suicide loss survivors and their families gather at a secluded resort to continue the work of healing. This one-of-a-kind weekend offers survivors from across the country the opportunity to connect with others who have experienced and understand suicide loss. The program includes peer-to-peer grief support, access to resources and experts, participation in intensive grief workshops, art therapy, relaxation, family entertainment, and above all LOVE.
Survivor Care Team
TAPS staff members reach out to new surviving family members as peer professionals. These trained and caring survivors understand well the road you are traveling, and they are available around the clock to help. New suicide loss survivors are paired with staff who have themselves lost a loved one to suicide.
Peer Mentor Program
The TAPS Peer Mentor Program equips survivors 18 months or more beyond their loss to serve as mentors to new survivors seeking support. TAPS peer mentors intimately understand the unique aspects of military tragedy. 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 in your grief journey.
Suicide Loss Online Community
TAPS Online Community is a safe space where survivors can find connection with and support from their TAPS family. For suicide loss survivors, TAPS hosts an invite-only, moderated Facebook peer group, where members may share stories and learn from others' experiences. In addition, once a month, TAPS hosts a live online chat moderated by suicide survivor staff members; it's another way to stay connected with fellow suicide survivors.
Suicide Postvention Information Card
The TAPS Suicide Prevention & Postvention Program has cared for thousands of survivors of military suicide loss. If you or someone you know has lost a loved one to suicide who served in the U.S. Armed Forces, regardless of duty status, then we are here to help. Download the Suicide Postvention Information Card (PDF format) to better understand the programs, services, and resources we provide.