What You Can Expect From My Keynotes:
Armed with dry humor and a tasteful cardigan (we call it “sassy grandpa chic”), I challenge preconceived notions about those with lived experience of suicidal thoughts and actions using the combined powers of photography and storytelling. I’m out to show my audiences that the silence around suicide is both dangerous and totally passé.
Over the course of 65 minutes, I discuss my own experiences with self-injury and suicide; the development and evolution of Live Through This; my artistic process; and successes and struggles in my time as an advocate. I implore audiences to open their hearts and their minds to those of us who have literally lived through it, and I provide incontrovertible evidence that suicide affects all of us.
Expect a talk that will be revealing, often touching, always honest and, ultimately, hopeful. (My wife wrote that part for me, guys.)
I’ve also been known to give workshops on suicide safe messaging, social media (specifically, how I apply a social media strategy to Live Through This), and storytelling. Additional topics and custom content available upon request.
Want to see what I’ve done and where I’ve been? You can download my CV here.
Dese’Rae Stage has a story to tell you, and trust me, you’ll want to listen. With her personal story of surviving a suicide attempt, Stage takes on a controversial topic with bravery and wit. In the end, however, it is her heart you connect with. Her heart is the bridge her audiences cross to a deeper, more personal understanding of the taboo topic of suicide.
Dese’Rae’s ability to be vulnerable on stage adds a level of power to her story that cannot be ignored. She connected with our audience at the soul level and will not soon be forgotten.
Dese’Rae grips her audience with her heartfelt candor and humor. It is as if you’re catching up with an old friend when she shares her story and passion for Live Through This.
Dese’Rae’s work has an important message for a campus audience, and we were thrilled with her visit to campus. Building off her own experiences, her talk was credible and informative while simultaneously offering an intimate and personal look at suicide experiences. Her message—that suicidal individuals deserve and need a compassionate audience—directly translated into a call to action for reducing stigma towards suicide.
We were so pleased with the talk Ms. Stage gave on our campus. Through her intense photos of suicide attempt survivors’ faces and story of her own suicide attempt, Ms. Stage helped the audience understand the range of people who have survived suicide. With humor, Ms. Stage allowed an audience of students, mental health professionals, community members and people bereaved by suicide the chance to think about suicide attempts and how we can talk openly about suicide. She made a difficult subject accessible to an audience with a wide-range of experiences.
There are moments in which we learn more than we realize about ourselves, the patients and families we serve, and the world as we know it. I experienced one of these moments when I met Dese’Rae Stage. Dese’Rae was a ‘panel of one’ at a state-wide summit designed to inform, engage, and enlighten leaders serving patients and families with behavioral health needs. I was the facilitator for this panel and was truly inspired by her story and the project she leads. Dese’Rae has a unique passion for changing the assumptions—and the faces—of attempt survivors among healthcare providers. Her project is a model for leaders, providers, and communities who are willing to truly hear the experiences of attempt survivors. Her delivery is real and her solutions are designed to transform how healthcare demonstrates compassion across a continuum of care that has patients and families at the center. The visual and verbal elements of her presentations are unique and compelling. Dese’Rae presents the challenges and the solutions in a practical and impactful manner. As I continue to follow her work with other survivors and advocates, I am reminded of how essential conversations about suicide can be in transforming the healthcare system to a more patient- and family-centered environment. She helped me—my mind and my heart—to expand my capacity for compassion and understanding. I would highly recommend engaging Dese’Rae to transform your conversations!