What It Means for All of Us
“Only curiosity about the fate of others, the ability to put ourselves in their shoes… creates this shock of recognition. Without empathy there can be no genuine dialogue, and we as individuals and nations will remain isolated and alien.” – Azar Nafisi
Dese’Rae Stage is a photographer, just shy of having a Ph.D. in suicidology and the founder of Live Through This, a movement that captures portraits and stories of suicide attempt survivors and in doing so, is changing the conversation, culture, and resources around suicide prevention, awareness and support.
She is an expert not only through the countless hours she spent researching and studying in school, or her countless interviews with others, but because as a two-time suicide survivor, she was one of more than a million individuals who attempt to take their life each year in the United States.
My friend, we are in the midst of a cultural shift in which some strong leaders and celebrities have begun to openly talk about their experience with mental health issues. It’s beginning to be covered more regularly on the news, and all of this means that our loved ones who are dealing with mental health issues are able to more easily discuss their experience to find the support and resources they need.
This is a movement towards being able to more holistically live inspired and we want to continue being a part of this conversation. That is why I invited Dese’Rae on the Live Inspired Podcast to share about her experience, to passionately explain Live Through This and to keep improving the way we care for our loved ones who are dealing with mental health concerns.
What Dese’Rae Stage Taught Me About Mental Health
Through our conversation I realized 3 important things:
- I’ve never had depression or suicidal thoughts; this is a privilege and I no longer take it for granted. Dese’Rae’s personal and vulnerable sharing showed me what depression can look and feel like on a daily basis. Suicidal thoughts can be a constant battle and the choice to ‘live inspired each day’ can be a herculean effort – one that takes a village of supporters who can empathize.
- Media tends to focus on those who have died by suicide (especially those who are famous), but not the people who have lived to tell the tale afterward. Too frequently we lose sight of the families forever changed in the wake of suicide and the more than 1.3 million individuals annually who survive a suicide attempt.
- The best way to grow as a person and to build community is to have conversations with people who have different experiences than me. I come back to this point often in light of divisiveness in politics, and it rings true for difficult topics like mental health, too. The way we are going to strengthen our country, communities and relationships, is by welcoming conversations to further educate ourselves, remaining open to the insights and experiences of others and letting our empathy and community grow in the process. [Tweet this.] | [Share on Facebook.]
My friends, don’t miss this life-changing conversation.
Join me and Dese’Rae to hear her story and the changing conversation, culture and resources around suicide prevention on Live Inspired Podcast Ep. #156 here.
Today is your day. Live Inspired.