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Live Through This: A Lifetime with Suicidal Thoughts, & Art as Social Justice

As South Dakota’s leader in suicide prevention and crisis response, we’re honored to host Dese’Rae L. Stage during Suicide Prevention Week. Dese’Rae is an award-winning artist, mom, suicidologist, and activist. Her organization, Live Through This, reminds us that suicide is a human issue by 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.

In a series of “snapshots,” Dese’Rae 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.

September 10, 2020, 7:00-8:00 pm

Please register for this on-line event at


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