Kevin's Song 2020 Conference on Suicide at the Inn at St. John's in Plymouth, Jan. 23-25

Fourth annual event will feature hundreds of stakeholders coming together to focus on suicide awareness and prevention

GROSSE POINTE FARMS, Mich. - More than 400 health care providers, behavioral health professionals, educators, first responders, loss survivors and suicide prevention advocates will attend the Kevin’s Song fourth annual Conference on Suicide: Advocacy in ACTION, January 23 – 25, at the Inn at St. Johns located at 44045 Five Mile Rd., Plymouth. The annual conference is presented by Kevin’s Song, a nonprofit organization dedicated to suicide awareness and prevention.

“The research and education in the prevention of suicide is ever evolving,” said Kevin’s Song Vice President and Co-Founder Gail Urso. “Our goals with the conference are to raise awareness about the fact that suicide is a public health crisis that we all need to address effectively, and to provide meaningful education for as many stakeholders as possible. This ongoing awareness and training are critical in order to help others learn who may be at risk, the warning signs of suicide, and the steps to take when a family member, student, friend or coworker is at risk. This is why it is so important that business and municipal leaders, educators, parents, mental health and medical professionals, veterans, as well as those touched by suicide join us as we work to achieve our vision of a world without suicide.”

Advocacy in Action – The first two days (January 23 – 24) of the three-day conference will focus on how communities can address suicide prevention through unified, collaborative coalitions of community resources using the best available research and evidence-based practices. Researchers, clinicians and suicide prevention advocates will cover the topic from both the personal and community level.

Concurrently, a School Summit will be held on Thursday, January 23, bringing together educators to share best practices in suicide awareness and prevention. Attendees will learn about innovative programs available to students, teachers and parents throughout Michigan. School personnel are encouraged to attend. Continuing education credits for school psychologists, social workers, counselors, teachers and human resource professionals will be available for approved conference sessions.

“Educators play a key role in identifying potential suicidal behavior,” said Macomb Intermediate School District School Safety/Student Assistance Consultant and Psychotherapist Nancy Buyle.
“The breakout sessions at the School Summit will help participants better understand the relationship between suicide and issues such as bullying, LGBTQIA & chronic traumatic exposure/adversity in youth. Overall, the summit will highlight the need to support students’ mental health in schools.”

Day three (January 25), the conference focuses on survivors of suicide loss and attempt survivors, support group facilitators, mental health professionals and all those interested in sharing and understanding the experience of surviving a suicide attempt or suicidal thoughts and/or the loss and grief following the suicide of a loved one.

“The goal of Saturday’s session is to provide information, resources and support to help those with their individual journeys through healing, loss and grief,” said Kevin’s Song Board Member and Conference Coordinator Leo Nouhan. “We also want to assist mental health professionals and other caregivers in understanding the needs of survivors and to help them move forward to reintegrate into their families, school, work or community environment with needs identified, understood and met.”

A key component to the 2020 Conference will be the importance of coalition building and the need for public/private partnerships. The conference will feature two separate panel discussions that will address the role of federal, state and local government and the business and healthcare communities in advocating for suicide awareness and prevention and better access to mental health services.

In order to have a more unified voice to advocate for changes and initiatives that will promote suicide education, training and prevention, Kevin’s Song has launched a collaborative initiative, With One Voice. Kevin’s Song will facilitate an assembly of local, statewide and national suicide prevention groups and regional coalitions, along with mental health providers and community mental health organizations, in order to explore how together they can more effectively promote meaningful change. At the conference, With One Voice will announce its priorities for the upcoming year.

Michigan Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, an acknowledged champion for mental health advocacy, will be one of the conference’s keynote speakers, along with: John Della Volpe, Director of Polling, Institute of Politics, Harvard University Kennedy School; Dr. Thomas Joiner, an academic psychologist, leading expert on suicide, and the Robert O. Lawton Professor of Psychology at Florida State University; Dr. Cheryl King, Professor & Director of the Youth Depression and Suicide Prevention Program at the University of Michigan; Michael Anestis, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology, Director of the Suicide and Emotion Dysregulation laboratory, University of Southern Mississippi to discuss gun deaths in the United States and challenging the narratives about the role of mental illness; Dr. Bart Andrews, Vice President of Telehealth and Home/Community Services at Behavioral Health Response in St. Louis; Jenny Landon, Founder of Growing Out of Darkness (GOOD) and author of Growing Through Grief; Thomas Dionne, the mayor of Utica and a public safety officer for the city of Grosse Pointe Farms will share his story of hope and how he saved a man from ending his life; and a special presentation by Dennis Liegghio, founder of Know Resolve, a metro Detroit 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting mental health and preventing youth suicides through outreach, advocacy and education.

Cost to attend the three-day conference is $250. Two-day or single day registration is also available. Visit www.kevinssong.org for more information.

About Kevin’s Song
Kevin’s Song is a charitable organization dedicated to generating public awareness about the causes of suicide, its prevalence in our society, and possible preventive measures. As an organization we are creating a working community of professionals and advocates that is rapidly being recognized as a valuable resource in the metropolitan Detroit area for offering knowledge, hope and healing to individuals, families and communities touched by suicide.

With One Voice. In order to have a more unified voice Kevin’s Song has also launched a collaborative initiative of local, statewide and national groups, regional coalitions, mental health providers and community mental health organizations to explore how, together, we can, promote meaningful change.

Kevin’s Song was founded by John and Gail Urso in honor of their son, Kevin, who took his own life in 2013. For more information visit www.kevinssong.org or call (313) 236-7109.





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