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Dese’Rae L. Stage

Artist, Mom, Suicidologist,

Speaker, Activist


Tell Me More

The nutshell: I’m an artist, mom, suicidologist, and advocate/activist (which of the latter depends on how angry I am).

I’m a self-taught photographer with experience in music journalism and crisis intervention training. I also have lived experience with suicidality and suicide loss—experiences I center in my work. I tie these threads together with Live Through This, a multimedia storytelling series that aims to reduce prejudice and discrimination against suicide attempt survivors. It 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. I have interviewed and photographed 186 suicide attempt survivors in 36 US cities since 2010.

Live Through This has received media coverage from the New York Times, TIME, CBS Evening News, VICE, and many more.

I am regularly invited to speak about my work and experiences at universities and suicide prevention events, including the NIMH Director’s Innovation Speaker Series alongside Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison. Live Through This is used as a resource by clinicians and as a teaching tool at the undergraduate and graduate levels. I’ve partnered with research teams in an effort to bring attempt survivor experiences to the forefront of suicide research. I’m the main protagonist in a documentary about suicide prevention advocates called The S Word, currently screening nationwide. My byline has appeared in Cosmopolitan (gay divorce), CNN (suicide), Romper (infertility), and more.

Before I had kids, my hobbies included melting into the couch watching Netflix marathons with my wife for hours at a time, dive bar jukebox takeovers, live music, beer (opaque, viscous, sweet stouts or the funkiest of sours) and cocktails, and talking about suicide. Now, my hobbies are naps, talking about suicide, and talking about infertility. I’m fun at parties (it’s true, though—super fun at parties).