According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. In 2017, 47,173 Americans died by suicide, and there were an estimated 1.3 million suicide attempts. While it's a myth that suicide rates are higher in December than any other time of year, the holidays give us an opportunity to consider the health and happiness of those we love. As dance teachers, we spend more time with our students than even their parents do, which means we are in a particular position to notice the pain and distress they're experiencing.
Take this time to talk with your students and check their emotional temperatures. Listen for the warning signals they give off about how they're actually doing, and you just might save their lives. According to the CDC, some of these warning signs include expressing hopelessness, threatening to hurt oneself or talking about wanting to die, increasing alcohol and drug use, and withdrawing from friends and family.
If you find that one of your students is exhibiting behavior like this, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK, or visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.