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TAPS Offers Training Webinar on "Suicide Prevention: Educating Military Families"

WASHINGTON - Losing a military service member to suicide is a devastating loss, and educating the military family community is one piece of the prevention puzzle facing caregivers. TAPS, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, will offer a one-hour continuing education and training session tomorrow called, "Suicide Prevention: Educating Military Families."

The seminar will be offered Thursday, August 6 at 12pm Eastern Time, 11am Central Time, 10am Mountain Time, and 9am Pacific Time.  Offered via a webinar interface, attendees can interactively participate through their computer and view the presentation while listening through a phone.

All active duty military personnel and Department of Veterans Affairs personnel are invited to attend without continuing education credits free of charge. Send email to [email protected]  from your work email address to register. Civilians and those seeking continuing education credits are asked to provide a small program fee of $25.00 to offset the costs of the program and CEU administration and can register online.

Registration and information is available online at . For questions about the program or registration, please contact [email protected]

The goal of this seminar is to teach professionals how to identify risk factors, protective factors and warning signs for suicide, provide a unique understanding of suicide assessment and prevention measures from the perspectives of survivors, and identify actions to implement when a military service member is suicidal.

The mental health professionals conducting the training know military suicide's pain all too well. Kim Ruocco, MSW has been a social worker for more than 19 years providing mental health services in both military and civilian communities. Her husband, U.S. Marine Corps Major John Ruocco, was a decorated Cobra gunship pilot and father of two sons. In 2005, Major Ruocco returned from a tour in Iraq and ten weeks later prepared for a second tour when he lost his life to suicide. Ruocco is the TAPS manager for suicide survivor support, education and outreach programs. She provides suicide prevention and postvention programs to military families and personnel throughout the country.

Carla Stumpf-Patton, MA, IMHC, CT was nine months pregnant in 1994 with her first child when her husband, U.S. Marine Corps Drill Instructor Sgt. Rich Stumpf, a 24 year-old Gulf War veteran, and her high school sweetheart, died by a public, self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Now completing her doctorate studies in Counseling Psychology, Carla has spent the past 15 years tirelessly dedicated to suicide prevention efforts, focusing on suicide in the military and among veterans. She facilitates a monthly support group for survivors of suicide loss, is active with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's Sarasota Sun Coast Florida Chapter and involved with TAPS.

Special guest, U.S. Marine Corps Corporal Burtan Lefleur, will also be joining the speakers for the webinar.

This program will be educational and beneficial to nurses, social workers, chaplains, psychologists, counselors, family readiness officers, casualty & notification officers, military/unit leadership, program managers, school counselors, therapists and all those working with military families, surviving families, service members and veterans.

The TAPS professional education webinar series for caregivers continues throughout the year with three additional seminars planned:
Monday, September 14, 2009 - "Reducing Mental Health Stigma" will feature U.S. Army Brigadier General Loree K. Sutton, M.D. Brigadier General Sutton is the director of the Department of Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury. Offered at 12pm Eastern Time, 11am Central Time, 10am Mountain Time, and 9am Pacific Time.

Thursday, October 22, 2009 - "The Masculine Side of Grief and Healing" will be conducted by Tom Golden, LCSW, author of "Swallowed by A Snake: The Gift of the Masculine Side of Healing." Offered at 12pm Eastern Time, 11am Central Time, 10am Mountain Time, and 9am Pacific Time.

Thursday, December 3, 2009 - "Professionals Working With The Grieving and
Traumatized: Recognizing and Caring for Your Own Secondary Trauma and Compassion Fatigue" will be led by James Gordon, MD, author of "Unstuck:
Your Guide to the Seven-Stage Journey Out of Depression." Dr. Gordon is a clinical professor of psychiatry and family medicine at Georgetown University's School of Medicine and director of the Center of Mind and Body Medicine. Offered at 12pm Eastern Time, 11am Central Time, 10am Mountain Time, and 9am Pacific Time.

Seats are available in the trainings for professional journalists who are covering military and veteran issues. Professional journalists can contact [email protected]  for more information about signing up.

Since its founding in 1992, TAPS has provided comfort and care to more than 25,000 surviving military family members.  TAPS provides ongoing emotional help, hope and healing to all who are grieving the death of a loved one in military service to America, regardless of relationship to the deceased, geography, or circumstance of the death. TAPS meets its mission by providing peer-based support, crisis care, casualty casework assistance, and grief and trauma resources. Services are provided free of charge. For more information go to  or call the toll-free crisis line at 800.959.TAPS.

Media contact: Ami Neiberger-Miller, Public Affairs Officer, TAPS, 202.588.TAPS (8277), [email protected].

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