The pandemic has changed how nonprofit organization Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) serves families of veterans lost to suicide.
Kim Ruocco, TAPS' vice president of suicide prevention and postvention, has a personally driven mission to support those in need. She discussed how the organization and its members are embracing digital tools and how support from government can help prevent veteran suicide.
"The pandemic has forced us all to take a look at what we were doing," Ruocco told GovernmentCIO Media & Research. "We used to do all of our outreach mostly via phone calls, and you miss a lot when you're talking on the phone."
The organization now incorporates virtual events in its efforts — a method that saw a substantial participation increase in support groups remotely, she said.
TAPS is a national nonprofit Veterans Service Organization that provides resources to those grieving the death of a military loved one through support networks and connection. In 2019, 19,000 survivors attended TAPS programs across the country.