According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), there is an average of 121 suicides per day in the United States. With her new music video covering Lady Gaga’s song “Million Reasons,” Monica Moore Smith, along with Nadia Khristean, Yahosh Bonner, and a young woman going by “Sarah,” bring a powerful and heartfelt message about the importance of suicide prevention.
The choreography and message for the video were inspired by “Sarah,” who lost her father to suicide and, according to the video, “needed to say something to the world.” She is responsible for the dance choreography throughout the video that evokes the feelings of isolation and darkness that can lead a person to a suicidal state but shows the love, support, and reasons that can lead someone to choose to stay. Every movement of the dancers is full of emotion and manages to convey the hope that can be found even in the darkest moments. The inclusion of other dancers speaks volumes about the importance of supporting those in need. For every person that dies of suicide, 25 more attempt it. The AFSP believes that statistics about suicide may actually be higher, but under-reporting and other inaccuracies will never allow us to really know what the real numbers are. The numbers that are available, though, show that rates of suicide have continued to rise over the last 30 years.
Everyone goes through times of despair, and for some death may seem like the only way to escape their emotional, physical or spiritual pain. Those contemplating suicide should not be afraid to seek help professionally (the National Suicide Hotline is available 24/7) or from those around them. Those who have been affected by the loss of a loved one as a result of suicide should keep in mind John 14:27, which serves as a reminder of where real peace can be found: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
With their honest choreography and moving vocals, Smith, Khristean, Yahosh and “Sarah” remind the audience that there is hope and of the importance of working toward suicide prevention. The message of ‘Stay’ is prevalent and featured throughout the video. They want to start a conversation about the importance of suicide prevention and remembering all the reasons to stay. In her description of the video, Smith said: “Someone needs the good only you can give.” Viewers are encouraged to use the hashtag #ichoosetostay and remember “Sarah’s” story and message to STAY.