TAPS helps military families dealing with grief
MADISON – September has been designated Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors or TAPS organization has been working closely with federal agencies to help military families.
TAPS has collaborated with the Department of Defense, Veterans Administration, National Action Alliance, Defense Suicide Prevention Office ( DSPO), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Joining Forces and others.
TAPS “is helping our service members, veterans and surviving military families fight this other side of war,” Amy Mitchell said. Mitchell coordinates communications and strategy for Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors.
TAPS offers compassionate care to all people grieving the death of a loved one serving in the Armed Forces. Since 1994, TAPS has provided comfort and hope 24 hours a day, seven days a week through a national support network of peers and connection to grief resources. TAPS’ services are free to surviving families and loved ones.
“Our families did not ask to become public figures when they suffered the death of someone they love,” Mitchell said. “Yet, a death in service to country carries public meaning and often involves public mourning.”
Many surviving families are open to sharing the story of their loved ones. But often, time is needed to allow them to gather their thoughts and reflect on their experience.
Research has shown that family members of those who have died by suicide are often least able to offer helpful, causal information about what led to their loved one’s death. “Identifying what contributes to a death by suicide is often complicated and takes time. Consequently, an emphasis on immediacy can be detrimental to good reporting on suicide and actually cause harm,” Mitchell said.
“There is hope. There is help. There is healing,” Mitchell said.
For more information, call 800-959-8277 (TAPS), email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit taps.org.