TAPS Provides Comfort to Suicide Survivors
By Shannon Collins
DoD News Specials and Features, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON, Sept. 11, 2014 – When family members of Defense Department service members lose their loved ones to suicide or other deaths, they have more than the support of family, friends and their community. They have the support of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors staff.
TAPS is a not-for-profit organization that meets its mission by providing peer-based emotional support, grief and trauma resources, casework assistance and connections to community-based care. It provides immediate and long-term emotional help, hope and healing to all who are grieving the death of a loved one in military service to America.
For Rebecca Morrison, TAPS suicide survivor communications liaison, it has a personal connection as well. Morrison’s husband, Army Capt. Ian Morrison, was a U.S. Military Academy graduate and Apache helicopter pilot. In 2011, he deployed to Iraq, and after 10 months, he returned with anxiety issues, depression and insomnia.
“Ian was a very active, happy, positive guy. He worked out all of the time and ate healthy,” she said. “In 2012, in the last two weeks of his life, he didn’t sleep. He hardly ate. He stopped going to the gym. He seemed very anxious most of the time. The main issue he talked about was sleep.”
Morrison had been teaching elementary school students at Fort Hood, Texas, and was working on her master’s degree when Ian started having trouble and lost his life to suicide. As his unit memorial approached, Morrison said, her college professor gave her the TAPS phone number.
“I had just had the funeral; I was just terrified basically, and I called TAPS really late, about the night before,” Morrison said. “I told Bonnie Carroll my story a little bit. She said, ‘Hold on, I’m going to connect you with someone whose story is similar to yours, and she’s going to call you and help you.’
I was like, ‘She’s never going to call.’”...
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