February 2022

Featured Article 

After Cheslie Kryst's suicide, psychologists offer tips for those struggling with mental health
The deaths of Cheslie Kryst, Ian Alexander Jr. and others are raising awareness about the rising rates of suicide and depression among Black Americans.

By Claretta Bellamy | NBC News 

Several suicides in the span of one month have placed a focus on mental health in the Black community.

Cheslie Kryst, 30, winner of Miss USA in 2019 and an “Extra” correspondent, died by suicide Sunday, and Ian Alexander Jr., son of actor and director Regina King, died just days after his 26th birthday. Kevin Ward, mayor of Hyattsville, Maryland, died last week of apparent suicide, according to a statement from the city, which described Ward as “a valued and trusted leader and a fierce advocate for all the people.”

Mental health challenges have been on the incline for many in recent years, due to the pandemic and other factors. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data collected between June 24 and 30, 2020, 40 percent of U.S. adults reported struggling with mental health or using substances. Meanwhile, depression rates among adolescents was twice that of adults, according to 2020 National Institute of Mental Health data.

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2022 Conference 

All Conference attendees should have received an email with a personal link to view the conference videos. If you haven't received the email link, please contact 

Last chance for teachers to view conference videos for SCECHs credits.
To qualify for credits, you must complete the viewing of the videos by Friday, March 4, 2022. 

Executive Director Position for Kevin's Song

Kevin’s Song, a rapidly growing Southeastern Michigan nonprofit devoted to empowering communities to prevent suicide and offering hope and healing to survivors, is seeking their first executive director. The Executive Director position is envisioned to be full time, although depending on the candidate, a part time role may be considered. We will be separately seeking an executive assistant to provide support to the Executive Director position.

Salary is negotiable. A range of benefits for this new position is currently being developed, with the final benefits package envisioned to be tailored to the successful candidate.

The Executive Director will be the key management leader of Kevin’s Song. The Executive Director will be responsible for overseeing the administration, programs, and strategic plan of the organization. Other key duties include but are not limited to fundraising, marketing, community outreach, and financial management. The Executive Director will report directly to the Board of Directors.

Please send a cover letter, resumé and three references to

We Remember - Memorial Forest 

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, virtual during the 2022 Conference of Suicide and School Summit, was made possible through the many generous donations to Kevin’s Song in memory of Adam Elbadawi.

We are creating a special section on our website that will list all of the names submitted. In this way, we remember we are all connected in loss and fortified with hope. If you would like the name of a loved one added to the Memorial Forest, please send the name to Gail Urso at

Meet Our New Board Member - La Toya Bond

La Toya is a legal support professional, radio personality and a small business owner. She is also the host of "Speaking Of Love Podcast", created in honor of her father who took his own life in a murder-suicide. Since the tragedy, La Toya has become an advocate for mental health & suicide prevention. As a minority woman, La Toya is nationally recognized by Black Women In Radio (BWIR) for her outstanding & influential contributions to Black radio culture and digital media around the globe.

Before switching career paths, La Toya worked as a school office administrator for nearly two decades. In 2017, she was awarded the National Life Changer Of The Year Award for positively impacting the lives of her students. La Toya is also the Executive Board Secretary for the Down Syndrome Guild of Southeast Michigan. She is a respected community leader who believes that spreading love is the secret to her success. 

Book of the Month 

Time doesn’t heal—love heals
When Vonnie Woodrick lost her husband Rob to suicide in 2003, she was faced with a series of decisions. How would she move on? How would she support and raise her three children as a young widow? How would she talk about Rob and honor his memory? These questions had no easy answers, but Vonnie found herself longing for one thing in particular: understanding. The stigma of mental illness loomed large over Rob’s death and made healing difficult. But Vonnie found the common assumptions surrounding suicide to be false. Rob was not “crazy.” He did not choose to take his own life. He was in agony and only wanted the pain to end. His death was a direct result of his mental illness. Why didn’t more people understand this?

Over a decade later, Vonnie and her children created the nonprofit organization i understand to help others enduring this same grief and loneliness. Since its founding in 2014, i understand has become a haven of compassionate comfort and a powerful voice in the movement to change the way we talk about suicide so that it can be seen for what it truly is: a terminal effect of mental illness, rather than a deliberate choice.
This is the story of how love transformed Vonnie’s brokenness into hope—not only for herself and her family, but for anyone struggling to emerge from the darkness of suicide.
Order Book of the Month


Support Group for Loss Survivors is meeting virtually through Zoom
First Wednesday of the month and third Thursday of the month at 7:00 p.m. 
If interested in attending,
please email Gail Urso at and she will send you an invitation code to join. 
Kevin’s Song has its very own YouTube Channel where you’ll find a resource library of Kevin’s Song video vignettes, PSAs, short films, documentaries and more that address the complex issue of suicide. We encourage you to comment, like or “subscribe” to our channel so you can stay up-to-date with our compelling and informative video resources that help us promote suicide education, training, prevention and advocacy.
Together, we will work to empower communities to prevent suicide and offer hope and healing to survivors. 
National Suicide Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) OR TEXT "GO" TO 741741
Copyright © *2021 Kevin's Song*, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
21 Kercheval Ave., Suite 345
Grosse Pointe Farms, MI 48236

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