Faculty

Ruocco, Kim

Chief External Relations Officer for Suicide Prevention and Postvention
Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS)

Biography

Kim Ruocco is the Chief External Relations Officer for Suicide Prevention and Postvention for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). Ms. Ruocco is an international public speaker who has a unique combination of personal and professional experience, education and training that provides a comprehensive understanding of suicide prevention and postvention.  Ms. Ruocco has been the Key note speaker at many national events, most notably the Department of Defense (DOD)/Veterans Administration (VA) Suicide Prevention Conference, VA Suicide Prevention Month, The LOSS team conference, American Association of Suicidology (AAS)/American Association of Suicide Prevention (AFSP) Healing Conference, Iraq Afghanistan Veterans of America  (IAVA), Clay Hunt announcement and multiple USMC, Army, Navy and National Guard safety stand downs. She has appeared in multiple media outlets including CNN, Fox News, Al Jazeera, NPR and NBC radio. She has been the topic of many magazine articles including Men's Health, Christian Science Monitor, Stars and Stripes and Marine Times. Ms. Ruocco is regularly quoted in national newspapers articles on the topics of Suicide, Military Culture, Mental illness, posttraumatic stress and VA and DOD policy matters.

Ms. Ruocco has been instrumental in raising awareness using the voices of military suicide survivors. She developed suicide survivor panels that testified in multiple venues including the DOD/VA suicide prevention task force, the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) conference and DOD/VA suicide prevention conferences. She assisted in the development of the Department of Defense Suicide prevention Office (DSPO) Postvention Toolkit, and was a reviewer for the current national strategy for postvention. Ms. Ruocco assisted in the development of the USMC's "Never Leave a Marine Behind" program and is a participant in the training video. She was the Family Liaison Contact for the USMC/AAS psychological autopsy research project that provided key prevention information for the USMC. She and her sons are also lead participants in the Sesame Street "When Families Grieve" video which is distributed internationally to families who have suffered a recent death. Ms. Ruocco regularly briefs the DSPO and the Navy on the family perspective of risk factors and gaps in service. She has also testified before the Senate Committee on Veterans affairs and is considered a SME for suicide pre and postvention. Ms. Ruocco has served as the SME in various settings including the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services administration (SAMHSA) Policy Academy.

 In her role as Director of Postvention programs for TAPS, Ms. Ruocco developed comprehensive, peer-based programs that provided specific care to all those grieving a death by suicide in the military. The most impactful of these services is the TAPS Annual Survivors of Suicide Loss Conference, which offers hope and healing to thousands of adult survivors, and a camp for children grieving a death by suicide. Her programming has been ground breaking in the field of postvention and has been incorporated into many civilian postvention programs.

Ms. Ruocco is currently the co-lead on the National Action Alliance Military and Family Task force and an Applied Suicide Intervention Skills (ASIST) trainer.

Ms. Ruocco holds a BA in Human Services and Psychology from the University of Massachusetts and a Masters degree in Clinical Social Work from Boston University. She is also the surviving widow of Marine Corp Major John Ruocco, who died by suicide in 2005.

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