Michigan’s largest conference on suicide — the Kevin’s Song 7th Annual Conference on Suicide: Building Roads to a Better Tomorrow – recently announced that registration is now open for the widely respected event that features a prestigious roster of leading experts in the field of suicide.
Presented by the Dolores and Paul Lavins Foundation, The Children’s Foundation and the Joseph J. Laurencelle Memorial Foundation, the conference will be produced by Detroit Public Television and returns to an in-person format January 26 – 28, 2023 at the St. John’s Resort located at 44045 Five Mile Rd. in Plymouth. The announcement was made by Kevin’s Song Co-Founders John and Gail Urso.
The three-day conference will bring together up to 500 educators, mental health professionals, professional trainees and students, business and community leaders as well as members of the public, survivors of suicide loss, and attempt survivors. It will address suicide as a public health crisis to better understand and prevent suicide while helping to build pathways to better models of prevention and treatment in order to save lives. It features keynote and breakout sessions as well as supportive resources for attendees.
“We are excited to return to an in-person event for this very important conference,” said Kevin’s Song Co-Founder and Vice President Gail Urso. “Like many organizations during the pandemic, we pivoted the last few years and provided a virtual conference. While successful, we think that many people benefit from attending this conference in person to interact with others, share resources and information, and visit booths and participate in other activities. We encourage anyone who has been touched by suicide to join us for our event as we collectively work to achieve a world without suicide.”
Keynote speakers for this year’s event include: Thomas Joiner, Ph.D., Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor, Dept. of Psychology, Florida State University, research and author; Kevin Fischer, Executive Director, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Michigan; Will Heininger, BA, Outreach Coordinator for the Eisenberg Family Depression Center; Gabby Gabrielle Doyle, Advocacy Campaign Manager, The Trevor Project; Bart Andrews, Ph.D., Vice President of Telehealth and Home/Community Services at Behavioral Health Response in St. Louis; Craig Bryan, PsyD, ABPP, Director of Recovery and Resilience, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, The Ohio State University College of Medicine;
Michelle Cornette, Ph.D., national suicide prevention advocate; Jill Smith, Senior Director, MiCAL, Common Ground; Sally Spencer Thomas, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and internationally-recognized mental health speaker and advocate; Greg Flynn, Fire Chief, West Bloomfield Township Fire Department and founder of the Yellow Rose Campaign; and a special presentation from Kevin Berthia, a suicide attempt survivor who decided to end his life at the Golden Gate Bridge, and Kevin Briggs, a retired California Highway Patrol officer, who intervened and saved his life.
The conference breakdown is as follows:
Thursday, Jan. 26 — Kevin’s Song’s 4th Annual “The School Summit” will bring together public, independent, parochial and charter schools to share best practices in suicide awareness and prevention. Participants will learn about creative, innovative programs that are bringing mental health and suicide awareness to students, teachers and parents throughout Michigan. This youth-focused program also will appeal to mental health professionals and policymakers since it will provide insight into the challenges facing young people in a post pandemic world.
Thursday also will mark a new feature to the annual conference with the first Professional Trainee and Student Symposium on Suicide — an intense half-day course on suicide risk factors, prevention and treatment. Professional trainees and students will receive basic, but crucial information regarding identifying and working with people at risk for suicide, in line with healthcare regulatory standards such as The Joint Commission’s National Patient Safety Goal for Suicide Prevention.
The Symposium on Suicide is free for persons enrolled in any of the following programs in the State of Michigan:
- Primary Care, Pediatric, Family Practice, Internal Medicine, Psychiatry or Emergency Medicine Residency Programs
Undergraduate or Graduate Social Work, Psychology or Professional Counseling Programs
- Mental health professionals are also encouraged to attend and may obtain continuing education credits.
Friday, Jan. 27 — Building Roads to a Better Tomorrow — The day will feature an array of powerful presentations by researchers, clinicians and advocates who will cover the topic of suicide during general and breakout sessions, featuring the best available research and evidence-based practices. Further, speakers will challenge the conventions of suicide prevention and treatment while asking attendees to rethink how suicide and risk of self-harm can be better assessed, prevented and treated. The day will begin with a dialogue by three of the country’s leading experts on suicide and prevention who will discuss current prevention efforts and ideas for the future from a mental health and public health perspective.
Saturday, Jan. 28 — The Saturday Program – Surviving Suicide – The last day of the conference is a journey of hope and healing that is dedicated for survivors of suicide loss and attempt survivors, support group facilitators, mental health professionals, and others interested in sharing their lived experiences. Featured this year, and streamed on Facebook LIVE, will be a compelling presentation from an attempt survivor and the person credited with saving his life, and a presentation of the Kevin’s Song 2022 “Saving a Life Award,” whose recipients exemplify outstanding service to the community in suicide prevention. The day will conclude with a presentation about surviving the grief of loss and facilitated support groups for attendees.
This year’s conference also will feature a Resource Gallery, a bookstore courtesy of the Self Esteem Shop, and a Memorial Forest honoring the memories of loved ones lost to suicide or to honor a survivor. Continuing education credits for Addiction Professionals, Educators and School Counselors, Licensed Professional Counselors, Nurses, and Social Workers will be available for approved conference sessions.
Early bird rates through Dec. 31, 2022 are: three-day conference is $250 per person and $300 beginning January 1, 2023; single day pricing is $125 per person and $175 beginning January 1, 2023. The Saturday Survivor program is $35. Visit www.kevinssong.org for more information about registration, scholarships or sponsorship opportunities.
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. 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.