Brooklyn-Based Photographer Uncovers Lives of Suicide Attempt Survivors

by Rachael Roth


Live Through This, a portrait series by Brooklyn-based photographer Dese’Rae L. Stage, takes a unique approach to suicide prevention: it puts a face and name to the survivors. 

Stage, who is a survivor of nine years of self-injury and suicide attempt, wanted to shed some light on a highly taboo but prominent issue. According to the project’s website, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US and a suicide is attempted every 40 to 60 seconds. In the past, survivors have remained anonymous to avoid judgment. Stage wanted to change that; through her photographs she humanizes these stories to work toward abolishing the stigmas surrounding suicide and depression. 

Stage travels all over the country to conduct interviews and includes a curated part of the interview with each portrait.

“I’m convinced that the simple act of getting people to talk about it will save lives,” Stage writes. Take a look at some of her amazing photographs: 


Melody Moezzi34 

“The thing about the mentally ill is [that] I had never been familiar with that community until I was diagnosed and went into the hospital and realized that this is an incredibly vulnerable community that is so silent and is not some tiny minority of people. You’re talking 25 percent of the population in a given year.” 

Mashuq Deen37 

“I’m actually really grateful for my scars, ‘cause they’re like war injuries or something, or tombstones to times gone by. I don’t want to forget because I don’t want to be complacent and lose what’s important and slide right back into the place that I used to be and set myself up to get sick again.”

Saranique Schwartz, 27. 

“[Suicide] should be something people can talk about. It shouldn’t be this, ‘I’m so ashamed I was so weak that I did this.’ I think that people who survive suicide attempts should talk more and I think that, in general, it should be talked about more.

Photo via Live Through This 

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