Conference Details VIEW SESSION and PRESENTER DESCRIPTIONS Register Sponsorships

Early Bird Registration Pricing Ends 12/31/2020

2021 Virtual Conference on Suicide, January 21-23. Equity and Equality in Suicide Prevention” presented by The Dolores and Paul Lavins Foundation, will bring together leading researchers, clinicians and suicide prevention advocates from Michigan and beyond to address suicide prevention through a social justice lens and to challenge existing bias and belief systems. The entire two-and-one-half day, online event, being produced by Detroit Public Television and portions will be available both live and streamed.

The School Summit “Best Practices in Youth Suicide Awareness and Preventionpresented by THE CHILDREN’S FOUNDATION, will run concurrently as part of the first day of the Conference (Thursday, January 21) and focus on the latest ideas and initiatives for dealing with suicide prevention in schools. Educators and administrators will share their first-hand experiences and provide insights into effective programming. Continuing education credits for school psychologists, social workers, counsellors, teachers, and human resource professionals will be available for approved conference sessions.

Saturday January 23rd – “Surviving Suicide” The final day of the Conference is a journey of hope and healing dedicated to survivors of suicide loss and will include workshops and survivor support sessions. A portion of this day will be open, and free, to the public.

Conference Presenters

Brian Ahmedani, Ph.D. Henry Ford Health System, Co-Chair-Michigan Suicide Prevention Commission
Bart Andrews,
Ph.D. Chair-Missouri Prevention Network
Donna  Barnes,
Ph.D., a loss survivor and active advocate for suicide prevention and intervention, as well as Founder and CEO of the National Organization for People of Color against Suicide, Inc.
Nancy Buyle,
MA, LPC, NCC, Macomb Intermediate School District; Co-Chair Michigan Suicide Prevention Commission
Frank Campbell,
Ph.D. Founder and Co-chair of the National Suicidology Training Center
April Foreman,
Ph.D., Executive Board Member, American Association of Suicidology 
Asha Ivey-Stephenson,
Ph.D, M.A., Senior Behavioral Scientist/Epidemiologist, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Brandon J. Johnson,
M.H.S. Creator of the Black Mental Wellness Lounge 
Thomas Joiner,
Ph.D. Distinguished Professor, Dept. of Psychology Florida State University, researcher and author
Sojourner Jones, 
LBSW, MPA, Community Liaison for Law Enforcement, Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network – Kevin’s Song 2021 “Save a Life” Award honoree
Roy Perlis, MD, MSc, Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
Shelby R. Rowe,
Suicide Preventionist and Chickasaw Artist
Rheeda Walker,
Ph.D., Author, Speaker, Psychologist, Consultant, Researcher, University of Houston
Patrick Watson,
EdS. Superintendent Bloomfield Hills Public Schools.

Surviving Suicide Loss
with Barb Smith…
A Journey of Healing and Hope

Presented By
Kevin’s Song and Detroit Public Television
Saturday, January 23; 12:00 Noon-1:30 PM

Free on Facebook Live

“If you or someone you know has been impacted by suicide, I’m inviting you to join us for a live, 90-minute guided discussion with a panel of survivors of suicide loss. The panelists will share their stories, discuss dealing with loss at its various stages and provide information on various available resources. Viewers will also have the opportunity to submit questions via Facebook Live. Suicide grief is individual; no matter where you are on the journey, you too can begin to bring purpose to your pain.”  Barb Smith

Barb Smith is founder and Executive Director of the Barb Smith Suicide Resource & Response Network recognized at the state and national level for its work in training individuals in suicide prevention and the role played in aftercare for those who have been impacted by suicide.  As a survivor of both her brother and sister-in-law’s suicides, Barb took her lived experience from the past 32 years to help find purpose for her pain. Barb is the facilitator of the local Survivors of Suicide support group and coordinator for the local LOSS (Local Outreach for Suicide Survivors) Team. She was recently appointed to the Michigan Suicide Prevention Commission and is co-chair of the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services Postvention Suicide Recommendation Committee for the state of Michigan.

With One Voice:  In order to have a more unified voice for legislative and public policy changes, Kevin’s  Song has launched the With One Voice initiative; a collaboration 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.

Resources for Ideas and Inspiration:

Support Groups for Loss Survivors is meeting virtually through Zoom at our regularly scheduled meeting time: the first and third Wednesday of each month at 7:00 PM. If interested in attending, please email Gail Urso at and she will send you an invitation code to join. For additional Support Group information click on the Resources link.

View Video
Support Groups

“We Need to Talk” is a 30-minute film produced by Kevin’s Song and funded by the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan and the Klingler Family Foundation. The film documents effective suicide prevention initiatives being used in schools and communities. Profiled in this video are the Prepare-U curriculum at West Bloomfield High School, The  U-Matter teen program developed by Rabi Yarden Blumstein for Friendship Circle, the University of Michigan’s Peer-To-Peer school outreach program and The SHED, an after-school facility for youth recently opened by Dennis Liegghio, founder of Know Resolve.

View Video




“Saving Lives, Preventing Youth Suicide”. Conceived by Kevin’s Song and sponsored by the Children’s Foundation, this 3-part series was produced in partnership with Detroit Public Television. Hosted by prominent Michigan journalist, Cynthia Canty each 60-minute program includes interviews with mental health professionals, educators and community leaders and covers topics ranging from the impact of social media on youth to building resilience to successful intervention strategies.

View Programs

Book of the Month

Answering the Cry for Help: A Suicide Prevention Manual for Schools and Communities – David A. Opalewski

Every year it is estimated that in excess of 100,000 people in the United States end their lives by suicide. These people are not just statistical numbers, They are husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children, friends and/or classmates.

Answering the Cry for Help will help to bridge the gap between schools and communities by providing guidelines for developing a Community Suicide Prevention Program that:

  • promotes awareness about risks,
  • discusses methods for suicide prevention,
  • establishes guidelines and resources for intervention,
  • seeks to educate and train Crisis Team members and community leaders to manage possible situations and scenarios.

Order Now    Library

Kevin's Song Newsletters


“Singing Kevin’s Song” Interviews with a high school counsellor, a former collegiate athlete, a researcher, and the parents of a high school student lost to suicide reveal their personal and painful insights into dealing with the suicide epidemic. Produced by James McGovern. (28 minutes)

Click here to view

“Death is Not the Answer”. Award winning producer-director Keith Famie tackles the tough issues of understanding depression and mental illness. (58 minutes).

Click here to view

“The S Word”. The stigma that so often prevents honest discussion, and often times death, is the subject of this compelling documentary by Lisa Klein. (98 minutes)

Click here to view


“Life After Suicide”- Dr. Jennifer Ashton. Dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC News’ Chief Medical Correspondent, draws from her own tragic experience to explore the aftermath of suicide and sudden loss, and, like her new book “Life After Suicide,” the podcast offers a six-part roadmap for survivors.

Click here to view