Commissioned by the Ohio Choral Directors Association College & University Commissioning Consortium.
In 2013, suicide took the lives of 41,149 people in the USA alone. Depression affects about 20 million people in the USA, 350 million worldwide. Mental health disorders are serious issues in our culture and it is important that we have open conversation about their existence and that we show support to those who are battling them.
To Write Love On Her Arms is a nonprofit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. Their 2016 campaign for World Suicide Prevention Day was titled “And So I Kept Living.” Using the hashtag #IKeptLiving, thousands of individuals who battle depression shared their stories on Twitter as to why they chose to life over death. I read through and collected hundreds of the tweets and used them to inspire the text for this work.
“Please Stay” is an anthem for hope — an attempt to destigmatize mental illness and challenge all of us to support those who are battling depression and thoughts of suicide. You are not alone. We can make a difference. We can be the support system that saves a life.
Give voice to hope: Share your #ReasonsToStay on Twitter. #PleaseStay
A portion of the proceeds from this work will be donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
[For some people, depression may lead to thoughts of suicide. Try to remember that you don’t have to act on these thoughts, no matter how overwhelming they might be. If you’re considering ending your life, it’s important that you talk to someone right away. If you’re in a crisis, you can also call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK to get immediate help.]
Performed by the Capital University Chapel Choir. Lynda Hasseler, conductor.
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(SSA, TTB, Unison, & SAB voicings available at the bottom of the page.)