This non-profit mental health awareness group has been encouraging people of all walks of life to draw (or tattoo) semicolons on their bodies to represent the fight against or loss of someone due to suicide.
In a few close up interviews, Bleuel said that she started the project in honor of her father and to tell her own story of the struggle of mental illness that her family had to face when her father took his life in 2003. It was ten years later, in 2013, that Project Semicolon was born.
While it’s been around for a couple of years now, this poignant project is inspiring people to bring attention to mental health awareness has been booming lately with people sharing their own stories and photos of their permanent semicolon tattoos.
Adorning wrists that show a battle with cutting to semicolon butterflies, there are thousands of different takes on a beautiful reminder that life is worth living. The unfortunate truth is, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States alone. That is a staggering number of people who have chosen not to continue in their life. These losses are great to those around them and impact families and friends to the core.
But that’s where project semicolon comes in, opening up a dialog through the use of a visual cue, encouraging people to talk about mental illness and how it impacts individuals and the community as a whole. This is a conversation that is long since overdue, and it’s amazing to think that one tattoo idea, one little project has the world buzzing with the support of those who may have otherwise ended their lives.
A semicolon is a pause in a sentence, not the end of one. But why did they choose a semicolon? If you think about it, a semicolon is used in a sentence that an author could have chosen to end, yet they chose to continue it.
You are the author, and that sentence is your life. The semicolon is a daily reminder to keep going through life’s trials and turmoil that you may indeed face either directly or indirectly.
Whether you have a semicolon tattoo or not, remember that one little mark can help change a life. If you see a semicolon tattoo out and about, open the discussion, know that you aren’t alone in the world, and at the end of the day, this is just another beautiful way that tattoos are combating the negative found in life sometimes.