AMBER LOVE 11-JAN-2016 This episode will address topics that may be considered triggering (self harm and suicide). I first came to know Dese’Rae and her organization Live Through This when I discovered the photography project to document suicide attempt survivors. Since then, I’ve the rest of her online footprint from tweets and instagram to t-shirt designs.

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Dese’Rae is a public speaker/educator on the subject of mental health and self harm. She goes to universities and behavioral health conferences to share her personal story. She left behavioral sciences education while in a PhD program to pursue a career in the music industry photographing and interviewing musicians.

“Surprisingly, the suicide prevention field has not been open in the past to people with a history of mental distress or however you want to call it. I don’t really love the phrase ‘mental illness’ and I’m grappling with that right now.” ~ Des

Des explained that her goal is for behavioral health professionals to recognize that people’s stories are vital to the progress of the field. The people with these conditions are often silenced or ignored and decisions are made for them. She adheres to some of the professional speaking/writing guidelines such as not giving details about one’s self harm and suicide attempts, but she also is willing to question if keeping that information silent is the best thing to do.

LTT stay logo

Both of Dese’Rae and I identify as people in the queer community which is statistically more vulnerable to suicide attempts. We’re both cisgender and are aware that our transgender community suffers at a much higher rate of depression.

“I think the statistic is 41-43% of trans people have attempted suicide in the past.” ~ Des

“Cancer sure is a terminal illness. How is depression not?” ~ Des

ltt photo project

President Obama’s executive action on gun control, included $500 million to go to mental health. What does that mean? Des and I both take issue with mental health being tied exclusively to gun control rather than healthcare where it is largely underfunded and unsupported.

“We must continue to remove the stigma around mental illness and its treatment and make sure that these individuals and their families know they are not alone. While individuals with mental illness are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators, incidents of violence continue to highlight a crisis in America’s mental health system,” Obama said (ABC News).

At least he acknowledged that people with mental illness are more likely to be victims. That doesn’t excuse the stigma he says he’s trying to overcome when tying it to gun violence.


Des and I discussed whether celebrity suicides help or hold back the movement to bring more education about suicide prevention. One of the key factors that does come out is that having popularity, fame, and financial success are not magical ingredients that protect a human from depression and suicide.

“When the American dream doesn’t work out, we get freaked out.” ~ Des


We did mention the right to die when suffering from a terminal illness, but neither of us had the resources on hand to explain the current status of the legislation. Choosing not to live with terminal illness it’s called “the good death.”


One area we didn’t have time to discuss was self care. Please keep a spoon for yourself to exist this day. Don’t use up all your spoons. (But You Don’t Look Sick)


Live Through This

US National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Veterans’ Crisis Line 1-800-273-8255 (also has an online chat function through

Trans Life Line
US: (877) 565-8860
Canada: (877) 330-6366


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