Annual Conference


The 2023 Conference is over and we thank you for participating.  We hope you take the time to complete the Evaluation that was emailed to you by MDHI.  We appreciate and welcome your comments and critique so that we can better prepare for the 2024 conference.

Also, if you are seeking continuing education credits, you MUST complete the evaluation.  QUESTIONS about Continuing Education? – CONTACT Michigan Public Health Institute | 517-324-8330 or email


     Michigan’s largest conference on suicide — the Kevin’s Song 7th Annual Conference on Suicide: Building Roads to a Better Tomorrow —  concluded with over 300 attendees and speakers and many positive reviews.

     Presented by The Dolores and Paul Lavins Foundation, The Children’s Foundation and the Joseph J. Laurencelle Memorial Foundation, the conference was once again produced by Detroit Public Television for it’s in-person format January 26 – 28, 2023 at the St. John’s Resort located at 44045 Five Mile Rd. in Plymouth. 

     The three-day conference brought together 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. The diverse presentations adressed all aspects of this public health crisis in an effort to better understand and prevent suicide while helping to build pathways to better models of prevention and treatment in order to save lives.

     Thank you to our Conference Sponsors and Supporters 


2023 Saving A Life Award Honorees

Recipients exemplify outstanding service to the community in Suicide Prevention. Past recipients have been individuals who have made a significant difference in the lives of citizens in crisis.

Individual Honoree:

Amelia Lehto – Chief of Staff and Director, National Center for the Prevention of Youth Suicide American Association of Suicidology

Amelia has worked in crisis services and suicide prevention for the past 15 years. She is a past Chair of the Crisis Centers Division of the American Association of Suicidology Board of Directors, where she spent time transforming the division, establishing the Crisis Services Committee, and welcoming new membership into the organization. She specializes in crisis service quality improvement, suicide prevention initiatives, postvention support group development, and facilitation skills. Additionally, she consults on social media strategy and policy, development, management, and customer engagement. Amelia is recognized as a leader in suicide prevention and postvention on the local, state, and national levels.

She is an advisor and past President of Michigan-based nonprofit, Six Feet Over, which provides financial and supportive services to families and loved ones following the suicide loss of their person. Amelia is also an advisory council member, conference committee member, and Survivor of Suicide Loss Support Group co-founder to Kevin’s Song. She has consulted with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services; Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; Live Through This Project; Google; TikTok; and The S Word documentary. She has also served as a Certified American Red Cross First Aid/CPR/AED Instructor and a LivingWorks Education ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) and suicideTALK Master Trainer.

After experiencing loss at a young age, she discovered that one is not defined by how they died, but how they lived.

Congratulations to Amelia Lehto, 2023 Individual Honoree of the Kevin’s Song Saving a Life Award, for her steadfast commitment to saving lives and for her outstanding service to the community.

Organizational Honoree:

Zero Suicide Team – CNS Healthcare

The Zero Suicide team at CNS Healthcare oversees suicide care for over 400 people in Oakland, Macomb, and Wayne counties in a community mental health setting. Kiersten Gutherman, Tabitha Welch, Sara Kadish, Lydia Lamba, and previously Riley Juntti are wholeheartedly invested in their suicide prevention work. The team has conducted many trainings for internal staff, external agencies, and organizations in the community. Kiersten and Tabitha are members of the Oakland County Suicide Prevention taskforce, the Governor’s Challenge reducing access to lethal means subcommittee, With One Voice, Michigan Association for Suicide Prevention, and attend all Michigan Suicide Prevention meetings.

Two team members have presented at international conferences on topics specifically about underserved and understudied populations. The team is dedicated to making sure suicide prevention is not thought of with a “one size fits all” approach. Some members of the team bring their lived experience with suicidal ideation to their work, which helps them inform research, reduce stigma, and reinforce the idea of recovery. The team emphasizes the importance of sharing research and interventions that have been specifically designed for populations such as people of color, the LGBT community, and individuals with autism.

The team’s most triumphant achievement is their work in suicide prevention by reducing access to lethal means. The team sought out research on the cutting edge of suicide prevention and devoted their efforts toward reducing access to lethal means. They have accomplished this by creating a sustainable program to give out free gun locks, medication lock boxes, and information about suicide prevention resources to community members.

Congratulations to The Zero Suicide team at CNS Healthcare, as the first organizational recipient of the Kevin’s Song Saving A Life Award for demonstrating how organizations, big or small, can mobilize communities and make a difference in preventing suicide and saving lives.





The MEMORIAL FOREST was created for the Kevin’s Song Fourth Annual Conference on Suicide to help us remember and honor some of the people who have died by suicide and to offer solace to those who were left behind. This Memorial Forest, which will be a virtual respite during the 2022 Conference of Suicide and School Summit, is made possible through the many generous donations to Kevin’s Song in memory of Adam Elbadawi.


Since 2020, Kevin’s Song has collected over 600 names in memory of a loved one lost to suicide or to honor a survivor, and have inscribed the names on a Kevin’s Song bird which decorated the trees during the recent conference.