Conference gives voice to ‘silent epidemic’

October 12, 2017

On an average day, during an average week, Gail Urso sits at her desk in the Kevin’s Song office, when she shares some uncommon news:

Three suicides in or tied to Grosse Pointe occurred in one week.

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“It makes you realize how big this problem is and how much work there is to do,” she said.

Urso and her husband, John, started Kevin’s Song shortly after their son committed suicide in 2013, to generate public awareness about the causes of suicide, its prevalence in society and preventive measures. Its debut conference last year was such a positive experience, Urso said, they hope to spread the word even further with this year’s event.

“The Silent Epidemic, A Conference on Suicide, What Do We Know? What Can We Do?” takes place Thursday, Nov. 9, through Saturday, Nov. 11, at the Inn at St. John, Plymouth. The event features myriad speakers and experts who hope to generate awareness about suicide — its causes, prevalence and preventive measures.

“It’s special because we bring together all these resources, experts in the field, organizations working in suicide prevention, loss survivors, attempt survivors, educators,” she said. “They all come together to learn and share information.”

Each day is geared toward a specific audience, though all conference goers are welcome to attend any programming offered. Goals, objectives, speakers and panelists for each day may be found online at kevinssong.org.

Gail and John Urso formed Kevin’s Song after their son’s suicide in 2013.
Photo courtesy of Gail Urso

Thursday morning is devoted primarily to medical and mental health professionals, Urso said.

Thomas Joiner Ph.D., a top expert in suicidology and author of “Why People Die By Suicide,” speaks about the nature, causes and management of suicidal behavior.

Other speakers Thursday morning include Sagar Parikh M.D., Maria Bastida M.S. and Cynthia Ewell Foster Ph.D., of the Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Program at the…

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