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Staff deliver presentations on how faith communities can help survivors of suicide loss, military culture and suicide



JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Staff from the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), who assist military families grieving a death by suicide, will be part of the “Show Me You Care Suicide Prevention Conference” being held July 14-15, 2014. 

The conference is designed to help attendees recognize risks and warning signs of suicide, learn suicide prevention strategies, gain knowledge and skills to implement suicide prevention and intervention planning, and to learn how to support people affected by suicide. The conference is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Mental Health and the Missouri Institute of Mental Health (MIMH) at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. The conference is being held at the Capitol Plaza Hotel located at 415 West McCarty in Jefferson City, Mo. and is open to the public.

TAPS is a nonprofit organization that provides comfort and care to anyone grieving the death of someone who died while serving in the Armed Forces. Sadly the impact of military deaths by suicide are seen every day at TAPS,  with 2-3 new people contacting TAPS each day requesting help in coping with the death by suicide of a service member or recent veteran. 

Army Captain Doug Windley, a chaplain with the National Guard and a staff associate with the TAPS Survivor Care Team assists military families grieving a death by suicide, will deliver a presentation tonight at the preconference event to help pastors and faith communities understand how to care for those bereaved by suicide. Discussion will address the many challenges faced by the bereaved after someone dies by suicide, as well as the challenges these bereaved families face spiritually and in relationships.

Tomorrow at 2:15pm, Windley will deliver a breakout session on military culture and suicide, especially with regard to how the Army has dramatically increased its efforts to educate and prevent suicide and to reduce the stigma associated with help-seeking. 

In addition to his work with TAPS, Windley has served with the U.S. military in El Salvador, Kuwait, Qatar and Afghanistan. He holds a bachelor’s of science degree in business administration, a master of arts in theological studies and a master’s degree in divinity. 

Each death by suicide leaves behind at least ten people who are significantly impacted. Research indicates that family members grieving a death by suicide are two to five times more at risk for death by suicide themselves, because they have experienced the death of a close loved one by suicide. More than 4,000 family members grieving a death by suicide in the military are part of the TAPS community of care.

Families grieving a death by suicide need comprehensive bereavement care and support. TAPS offers a variety of services to help grieving military families, including peer mentoring, the National Military Suicide Survivor Seminar, connections to community-based care, Good Grief Camps for children, grief seminars and retreats for adults, casework assistance, online and in-person support groups, and a 24/7 resource and information helpline at 1-800-959-TAPS (8277).  

Media Contact: Ami Neiberger-Miller or James Hutton, 202.588.8277, ami@taps.org, james.hutton@taps.org 

About TAPS
The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) is the national organization providing compassionate care for the families of America’s fallen military heroes and has offered support to more than 50,000 surviving family members of our fallen military and their caregivers since 1994. For more information go to www.taps.org or call the toll-free TAPS resource and information helpline at 1.800.959.TAPS (8277).

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