ARTIST, MOM, SUICIDOLOGIST, SPEAKER, ACTIVIST

Dese’Rae L. Stage

At a glance:

The nutshell: Dese'Rae is an artist, mom, suicidologist, and advocate/activist (which of the latter depends on how angry she is). Available for Virtual Programming

Dese’Rae L. Stage is an award-winning artist, mom, suicidologist, activist, and MSW
student. She created Live Through This, a documentary-style multimedia storytelling
series that aims to reduce prejudice and discrimination against suicide attempt
survivors. Live Through This reminds us that suicide is a human issue by elevating and
amplifying survivors’ voices through raw, honest stories of survival, and pairing them
with portraits—putting faces and names to the statistics that have been the only
representation of attempt survivors in the past. Live Through This has received media
coverage from the New York Times, Associated Press, NPR, CBS Evening News, and
more. Dese’Rae also produces and co-hosts Suicide ‘n’ Stuff, a video podcast that
examines suicide through a critical suicidology lens. She is featured in a documentary
about suicide prevention advocates called The S Word. Her writing has been published
by Cosmopolitan, CNN, and Romper. She lives in Philadelphia with her wife and
children.

  • LIVE THROUGH THIS: A LIFETIME WITH SUICIDAL THOUGHTS, & ART AS SOCIAL JUSTICE

    In a series of “snapshots,” Dese’Rae L. Stage shares her experiences with suicidal thoughts (and sometimes more) over the course of her lifetime. She covers family dynamics and the teenage years—the difficult transition from middle to high school, questioning her sexuality; an abusive relationship; divorce; infertility; and how suicidal thoughts cropped up in each. She shows the audience a living portrait reflecting recent CDC findings indicating that suicide is a response to adversity, rather than mental illness as a singular cause. She walks us down the path that led her to Live Through This and brings the voices of attempt survivors with her through portraits, quotations, and video—literally taking the audience into an interview with her. She discusses major themes that crop up in the stories of survivors, along with the impact the project has made in a number of contexts. Stage implores listeners to open their hearts and their minds to those of us who have literally lived through it, and provides incontrovertible evidence that suicide affects all of us. Audiences can expect a talk that will be revealing, often touching, always honest and, ultimately, hopeful.
  • Dese'Rae is also available to develop customized presentations.

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