Your teenage years can be exhilarating—you're beginning to discover who you are and who you want to become. Perhaps you've begun to define yourself as a person and a dancer, exploring your strengths and weaknesses and what makes you unique. And maybe that process is helping you solidify your list of goals for the future.
But this journey of self-discovery can also be confusing and terrifying, and almost every teen goes through periods of uncertainty. For some, that struggle becomes all-consuming. According to HealthyChildren.org, suicide is the third leading cause of death among 15- to 24-year-olds. May is Mental Health Awareness Month, so it's a good time for us to remind ourselves that at any given moment, we have no idea what the person next to us is going through—whether it's our best friend or a complete stranger.
With this reality in mind, the band Train teamed up with SoulPancake (the geniuses who brought us Kid President) to create "Give It All," a music video that spreads awareness of mental illness in teens. The video, which was released today on USAToday.com, deals specifically with loss, one of the major life challenges that can make us feel hopeless.
Izzy (left) and Ashleigh in a still from "Give It All"
Who better to convey such a heavy and poignant message than a pair of teen dancers? Train's lead vocalist Pat Monahan found 16-year-old Israel "Izzy" Harris at his daughters dance studio, and instantly felt confident in the teen's ability to carry the song. Ashleigh Mitchell, 17, joined Izzy in the chilling and heartbreaking duet, choreographed by Tani Ohashi and Kelly Bahr of Backstage Dance Studio in Bellevue, WA.
While there's no doubt "Give It All" is a sad music video, it has a constant undercurrent of hope, particularly at the end. We get a sense that while Izzy will never forget Ashleigh, he will move on. It will get better.
Help spread the message, and if you or any one you know is struggling, visit the online Suicide Prevention Hotline or dial 1-800273-TALK (8255).