Dese'Rae L. Stage

Artist, Writer, and Suicide Awareness Activist in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Dese'Rae L. Stage

Artist, Writer, and Suicide Awareness Activist in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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Hi, I'm Des. All those things above? I do 'em.

In 2010, I created Live Through This, a collection of portraits and stories of suicide attempt survivors, as told in their own voices. Live Through This re-imbues the topic of suicide with humanity by putting faces and names to the statistics that have been the only representation of attempt survivors in the past. As of January 2017, I've collected the stories and portraits of 180 attempt survivors in 33 US cities.

Why do I do all of this? I'm a suicide attempt survivor, myself. I've lived with suicidal thoughts and self-injurious compulsions for more than half of my life. Many of my family members struggle with depression, addiction, and more. I've lost friends to suicide. I need to do my small part to effect change.

I travel the country collecting stories and making portraits of attempt survivors. I speak at universities, professional, and academic conferences nationwide about Live Through This, crowdfunding, and suicide prevention in social media. I'm writing a book (admitting this openly terrifies me). I've partnered with researchers on a qualitative study based on Live Through This, and we're in the thick of it.

I've provided commentary for The Glenn Beck Program, Fox News, and BBC Radio. In January 2015, I was recognized as NY1’s New Yorker of the Week. I also won the SAMHSA Voice Award and the inaugural Paul G. Quinnett Lived Experience Writing Contest. My writing has been published by Cosmopolitan, Huffington Post, and XoJane.

Live Through This has received extensive media coverage, including features in the New York Times, Associated Press, NPR, and more.

I live in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philly with my wife and probably too many furry creatures. You can see more of my work at http://deseraestage.com.

  • Work
    • Dese'Rae L. Stage Photography
  • Education
    • BS Psychology, East Tennessee State University