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A Woman Lived Through Something Awful. Now She’s Helping Others Do The Same.

When a person who has attempted suicide talks about his or her experience, it can do two pretty amazing and necessary things: 1) let other people who are in a similar place know they're not alone and 2) give people who have never been there a glimpse into what it's like.

A Woman Lived Through Something Awful. Now She’s Helping Others Do The Same.

Those outcomes are exactly what Dese'Rae L. Stage is hoping (and already starting) to achieve with her project, Live Through This. She invites people to share the story of their suicide attempt and then takes a portrait of them. Welcometoterranova curator Rebecca Eisenberg posted Dese'Rae's Kickstarter video for the project to the site about a year ago; you all helped share it and get some funding for her to travel outside of New York and tell more stories. Dese'Rae has now done interviews in seven cities and has 66 stories total (when she did the Kickstarter, she had 15). She will soon head to Boston and L.A. to collect more.


A suicide attempt survivor herself, Dese'Rae's goal is to remove some of the stigma and shame associated with suicide to enable a more open dialogue. She hopes to make it easier for those who need help to recognize the signs and seek it and for everyone else — from friends to medical professionals — to understand what's happening and provide support.

While there's still a long way to go, Dese'Rae said she's beginning to see a small shift in the attitude toward suicide and suicide-attempt survivors. Two of the most surprising things? Before the project, Dese'Rae had mostly encountered angry loss survivors (people who've had a loved one die by suicide). Now, she said, "I get a lot of support from loss survivors ... . I’ve gotten so many people who lost someone say, 'I wish they had seen your website. I feel like maybe it would have given them hope to live one more day.'" She also gets lots of emails from people around the world who've seen the Live Through This site and realized they're not alone.

The other surprise? Medical professionals, who in the past discouraged discussion among suicide-attempt survivors, have started to get on board and "see that attempt survivors are a great resource." She's been working closely with the American Association of Suicidology. (Yep, that's a thing.)

Some other learnings from the past year?

"I’m really, really not alone," Dese'Rae said. "That was what I started the project thinking, that I was alone. I was hoping there was someone out there, but it was such slow going." She said that since the Kickstarter, the emails have been pouring in from people all over the world who want to share their stories. And though the media (when it covers suicide, which is rare) tends to focus on suicide within the LGBTQQ community or among young people who are being bullied, "[t]here are so many of us, and we’re all different kinds of people." Dese'Rae said. "We can’t be stereotyped — this affects all ages, orientations ... musicians, artists, people of faith. We’re all here together."

So what do we do? Keep the dialogue open. Share these stories and information about suicide (see below for some resources). We'll help by doing our best to keep getting this out there. (As Dese'Rae said, "You guys are covering it, but you have balls. There are so many media outlets out there who won’t touch it.")

"The more widely disseminated it is, that there are people out there who are talking about their experience openly and honestly ... . Some people felt like they were saved; some people still struggle with it. The more we get those things out there, the more we can change the landscape."

Some other things you might not have known or thought about regarding suicide:
  • Suicidal thoughts often stem from mental health issues (according to the National Institute of Mental Health, "more than 90 percent of people who kill themselves have a diagnosable mental disorder"), and the mental health system in our country is pretty broken. In Dese'Rae's experience, especially if you don't have good health care, the reaction by professionals to individuals with suicidal thoughts can be to "throw medication at them" and lock them up. She thinks professionals in a variety of fields should receive training on how to handle people with suicidal thoughts — teachers, police, EMS workers, nurses — because a lot of people in these fields interact directly with people right after their suicide attempt.
  • Even the terminology used with suicide can carry stigma. For instance, saying someone "committed" suicide likens it to a crime (which, before the '60s, many states and countries considered it to be) whereas saying someone "died by suicide" carries much less judgment (like saying someone "died from cancer").

Lastly, this video of Dese'Rae sharing the story of her own suicide attempt and how she found her way to creating Live Through This is definitely worth a watch:

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Welcometoterranova and P&G Good Everyday are teaming up to find the people who lead with love everyday.

Know someone in your neighborhood who's known for their optimistic attitude, commitment to bettering their community and always leading with love? Tell us about them for the chance to win a $2,000 grant to keep doing good in their community.

Nomination ends November 22, 2020

File:Pornhub-logo.svg - Wikimedia Commons

A 2015 survey conducted by the National Union of Students found that 60% of respondents turned to porn to fill in the gaps in sex education. While 40% of those people said they learned a little, 75% of respondents said they felt porn created unrealistic expectations when it comes to sex. Some of the unrealistic expectations from porn can be dangerous. A study found that 88% of porn contained violence, and another study found that those who consumed porn were more likely to become sexually aggressive.

But now the thing that breaks those unrealistic expectations… might also be porn? Pornhub has launched a sex education section.

The adult website's first series is simply titled, "Pornhub Sex Ed" and contains 11 videos and is accessible through the Pornhub Sexual Wellness Center. The section also contains articles, some showing real anatomy and examples in order to bust myths people may have picked up on other portions of the website.

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A lot of people here are like family to me," Michelle says about Bread for the City — a community nonprofit located in Washington DC that provides local residents with food, clothing, health care, social advocacy, and legal services. And since the pandemic began, the need to support organizations like Bread for the City is greater than ever, which is why Amazon is Delivering Smiles to local charities across the country this holiday season.

Watch the full story:

Amazon is giving back by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, and donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Bread for the City provide to those disproportionately impacted this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your charity of choice.

I saw this poster today and I was going to just let it go, but then I kept feeling tugged to say something.

Melanie Cholish/Facebook

While this poster is great to bring attention to the issue of child trafficking, it is a "shocking" picture of a young girl tied up. It has that dark gritty feeling. I picture her in a basement tied to a dripping pipe.

While that sounds awful, it's important to know that trafficking children in the US is not all of that. I can't say it never is—I don't know. What I do know is most young trafficked children aren't sitting in a basement tied up. They have families, and someone—usually in their family—is trafficking them.

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While many of us have understandably let the challenges of 2020 get under our skin and bring us down, a young man from Florida was securing his place in the Guinness Book of World Records. Chris Nikic became the first person with Down syndrome to complete a full triathlon.

For the majority of people, a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride or a 26.2 mile run would be difficult on its own. The Ironman competition requires participants to complete them all in one grueling race. In a statement, Special Olympics Florida President and CEO Sherry Wheelock called Chris "an inspiration to all of us." She continued, "We are incredibly proud of Chris and the work he has put in to achieve this monumental goal. He's become a hero to athletes, fans, and people across Florida and around the world."

Nikic's journey to become an Ironman started off as a challenge far less lofty. He and his father, Nik, created the "1 percent better challenge." The idea was to keep Chris motivated during the pandemic and beyond. According to The Washington Post, the idea was for Chris to improve his workouts by one percent each day because he "doesn't like pain" but loves "food, videos games and my couch." The plan was to keep building strength and stamina while keeping his eye on the grand prize of completing a triathlon. Nik told the Panama City News Herald, "I was concerned because after high school and after graduation a lot of kids with Down syndrome become isolated and just start living a life of isolation. I said, 'Look, let's go find him something to get him back into the world and get him involved,' so we started looking around and we were fortunate that at the same time Special Olympics Florida started this triathlon program, and I thought, 'What a great way to get him started, get him in shape and get him to make some friends.'"


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