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Today's Takeaway with Florine Mark

Dec 27, 2021

With Gail Urso, Cofounder of Kevin’s Song


Did you know that over the past decade the rate of suicide has increased to become one of the leading causes of death in the U.S.? Although a history of depression and mental illness may be associated with an increased risk of suicide, there are many other factors as well. Regardless of the actual cause, in every single case of suicide, the decision to take one’s life affects the surviving family members and friends. For them, the suicide of a loved one brings grief, unending questions, and regrets. While we may comfort ourselves with the thought that the person we’ve lost is no longer in pain, for those that are left behind the pain and loss don’t end. Nor do the questions like, “Why?”, “What could I have said or done that may have made a difference?”, or “How could I not notice that they were planning to do this?” Further adding to a survivor’s pain is the stigma and shame often associated with suicide. Suicide victims are labeled as mentally ill or sometimes even barred from certain burial sites according to religious doctrine. Obituary notices declining to give the cause of death further adds to the stigma and the impression of the public shaming. Sometimes instead of supporting the grief-stricken loved ones as we normally would do, people shy away from mentioning the circumstances and/or get very uncomfortable.


Thankfully, there is hope for survivors and a place where they can find understanding, empathy, and support.


My guest today, Gail Urso, is the co-founder of Kevin’s Song, a nonprofit devoted to studying the problems of suicide and mental illness while providing support for the surviving loved ones. She’s here today so we can have a frank and open discussion about suicide and hopefully dispel some of the myths and stigma surrounding it.


If you or someone you know might be considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) OR TEXT “GO” TO 741741.


What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • Why Gail started Kevin’s Song after the loss of her son to suicide and what she learned.
  • What Kevin was like as a child.
  • Why are the “signs” often missed?
  • What was Kevin’s adult life like?
  • What question would Gail ask Kevin if he were still alive?
  • Does suicide run in families?
  • How did Kevin’s death affect his family?
  • Are the holidays when the highest number of suicides happen?
  • When Gail looks back, does she think there were signs?
  • Does Gail see any guilt from surviving friends and family?
  • What is the mission of Kevin’s Song and what do they offer?
  • Resources are available for people experiencing depression or mental crisis.


Today’s Takeaway: In a recent report, suicide was the fourth leading cause of death for people between the ages of 35 and 44. With reports of depression, mental illness, and substance abuse on the rise, the associated risk of suicide is a growing problem. For the surviving loved ones, even in the wake of such tragedy, there may still be hope for a fulfilling and even joyful life. While there might always be a hole in your heart, with support groups like Kevin’s Song, you may find strength and healing. By providing education and awareness about suicide, the goal of Kevin’s Song is to destigmatize depression, anxiety, and mental illness so that a person can be more willing to reach out and seek professional help. Simply by listening and being more supportive of each other, perhaps we can remove the shame and isolation a person might feel by showing them there are other options. Things do get better and life is worth living. Remember that every single day is a gift and we need to cherish the time we have together today to allow for a better tomorrow. I’m Florine Mark and that’s “Today’s Takeaway.”



  • “We had no idea how much information there was about suicide; how there were signs and things to watch for.” — Gail
  • “We were grief-stricken, we were horrified, we were devastated. But for us it was helpful to do something.” — Gail
  • “People who are suicidal hide their pain. One of their goals is to never let people know how much they’re suffering because they don’t want to be a burden.” — Gail

Brought to You By:

Gardner White Furniture


Mentioned in This Episode:

Kevin’s Song

If you or someone you know might be considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) OR TEXT “GO” TO 741741.