Have you ever seen someone with the semicolon tattoo and wondered why they had it? Well, there is actually a lot of meaning behind it. After watching a movie where one of the characters had the tattoo, I was intrigued so I looked it up. I found out that people get this as an affirmation and solidarity against mental illnesses, depression, and suicide. A way to remember all they have been through and continue to struggle with. A way to express themselves, to remember that they are survivors. It represents their own struggles, victories and personal stories in a subtle yet meaningful and powerful way. People may also get this tattoo to support the cause. They sometimes incorporate the semicolon into a larger tattoo design. I actually really love this idea after getting matching, meaningful tattoos with my two sisters and niece a few months ago. This is a great kind of bonding experience and a way for one another to support each other through tough times. It also raises awareness within the community. Tattoos supporting a great cause!
Project Semicolon was founded in 2013 by Amy Bleuel, who had struggled with addiction, depression, and rape as well as her father’s death by suicide. She wanted to remember her survival and her story. She started the semicolon tattoo trend because it is “used when an author could’ve chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life.” Project Semicolon is a non-profit, faith-based organization that aims to raise awareness about mental health and suicide prevention by better educating the community through information and resources. The non-profit has helped over 5.2 million people since 2013.
In Amy’s words, taken from the Semicolon Project’s website, “Despite the wounds of a dark past I was able to rise from the ashes, proving that the best is yet to come. When my life was filled with the pain of rejection, bullying, suicide, self-injury, addiction, abuse and even rape, I kept on fighting. I didn’t have a lot of people in my corner, but the ones I did have kept me going. In my 20 years of personally struggling with mental health I experienced many stigmas associated with it. Through the pain came inspiration and a deeper love for others. God wants us to love one another despite the label we wear. I do pray my story inspires others. Please remember there is hope for a better tomorrow.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, suicide or mental illness you can visit https://projectsemicolon.com/ or contact NMPASI at 235-7273/4 or online at www.nmpasi.org.
Amber Alberts is a program aide at the Northern Marianas Protection and Advocacy Systems Inc.