Learn about our commitment to safety and how to get care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Silent Epidemic – A Conference on Suicide,” Opens with Henry Ford Behavioral Health Services Presentations

March 25, 2016


PLYMOUTH, MI – Through its Perfect Depression Care/Zero Suicide Initiative, Henry Ford Health System has cut the suicide rate among its Behavioral Health patients by 80%. On Thursday, April 7, health care professionals from around the country will have the opportunity to gather and learn from Henry Ford's example during a pre-conference event organized by local suicide-prevention nonprofit Kevin's Song.

During the pre-conference which begins at 8:30 am, participants will hear from key Henry Ford staff including Doree Ann Espiritu, M.D., Brian Ahmedani, Ph.D., and Philip J. Lanzisera, Ph.D., who will discuss a wide range of strategies to prevent patient suicides.

“When people ask, can you really expect to prevent all suicides? Our consistent response is, we have to try. If we say we’re ok with five suicides a year one of those might be your sister, son, or your friend. Our goal must be zero suicides," says Dr. Espiritu.

During the pre-conference luncheon, Dr. Lanzisera will address the impact of suicide on providers.

“The Silent Epidemic: A Conference on Suicide,” is the first national conference on suicide prevention presented by Kevin's Song, a Detroit-area charity formed in part to focus on suicide prevention.

The entire conference, will take place from April 7-9 at the Inn at St. John's in Plymouth and includes sessions for both medical professionals and family and friends who have lost a loved one to suicide.

Speakers and presenters include Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority CEO and executive director Tom Watkins, KnowResolve founder Dennis Liegghio, and nationally-known suicide prevention expert Thomas Joiner, Ph.D., who has worked on the issue with the Department of Defense and NASA.

“Gail and I lost our oldest son, Kevin, to suicide in 2013,” said Kevin's Song Co-Founder Kevin Urso. “In our devastation, we started researching the facts about suicide – and among other things, we learned that someone in the United States loses their life to suicide every thirteen minutes.”

“With that kind of death rate, we knew that this cause is just too urgent to take things slowly. We dove in with both feet, eager to make a significant difference in as little time as possible. This conference is one of the results.”

“Right now we've got groups of people working specifically to prevent teen suicide. Others are focused on veterans – still others on people living and struggling with mental illnesses,” he said. “Long term, we hope that bringing these different groups together will lead to relationships and collaborative efforts to prevent suicide across the board. At the same time, our conference will provide a place for people to start or continue healing from the trauma of losing a loved one like Gail and I lost our son.”

For more information and registration, visit: The Silent Epidemic: A Conference on Suicide. Packages and single day registration are available for individuals and groups.

Media Contact:
Synthia Bryant
(313) 874-4036


Kevin's Song
Gail Urso, Co-Founder and Vice President
(313) 600-4419