Dese’Rae L. Stage is an artist and activist who challenges preconceived notions about those with lived experience of suicidal thoughts and actions using the combined powers of photography and storytelling. Dese’Rae discusses her own experiences with self-injury and suicide, the development and evolution of “Live Through This,” and her artistic process, all with candor. She implores audiences to open their hearts and minds to those who have literally lived through it, and she provides incontrovertible evidence that suicide affects all of us.
Dese’Rae’s project “Live Through This” is a collection of portraits and true stories of 180 suicide attempt survivors in 33 cities across the United States. 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.
Dese’Rae L. Stage is a Philadelphia-based artist, suicide awareness activist, and public speaker. She struggled with self-injury for nine years and survived a suicide attempt catalyzed by an emotionally and physically abusive relationship. These experiences, coupled with the loss of friends to suicide and the lack of resources for attempt survivors, prompted her to create “Live Through This”.
Dese'Rae speaks at universities and conferences nationwide. She provided commentary for The Glenn Beck Program, Fox News, and BBC Radio. Her writing was published by Cosmopolitan, Huffington Post, and XoJane. In January 2017, she received a SXSW Community Service award, the American Association of Suicidology’s Transforming Lived Experience Award, and received Investigation Discovery’s Every Day Hero award. Live Through This has been featured in the New York Times, Associated Press, NPR, and more. Dese’Rae is featured in a documentary about suicide prevention advocates called “The S Word,” due out later this year.