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Dese’Rae L. Stage

Artist, Mom, Suicidologist,

Speaker, Activist

Tell Me More

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

I’m a writer and self-taught photographer with experience in music journalism. I have an academic background in psychology and suicidology, I’m trained in crisis intervention (ASIST, QPR), and I’m a certified QPR trainer. I also have lived experience with chronic suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, 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 statistics that have been the only representation of attempt survivors in the past. I’ve interviewed and photographed 188 attempt survivors in 36 US cities since 2010.

Live Through This is used as a resource by clinicians and as a teaching tool at the undergraduate and graduate levels. I’ve partnered and published with research teams in an effort to bring attempt survivor experiences to the forefront of suicide research. 

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

I speak about my work and experiences at universities and suicide prevention events nationwide. Highlights, for me, have been sharing a bill with Kay Redfield Jamison at the NIMH Director’s Innovation Speaker Series and delivering a Thought Leader Session at the American Association of Suicidology’s annual conference in 2020.

I produce and co-host the Suicide ‘n’ Stuff vidcast with Jess Stohlmann-Rainey. I’m also the main protagonist in a documentary about suicide prevention advocates called The S Word, currently streaming on Amazon Prime. My byline has appeared in Cosmopolitan (gay divorce), CNN (suicide), Romper (infertility), and more.

Before I had kids, my hobbies included Netflix marathons, 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 was fun at parties before COVID and parenting made them obsolete.