Semicolon tattoos raise awareness about mental illness
"not scars but a badge of honor. a roadmap of the journey I survived & the strength I gained" - stated by the young lady in the photo
A semicolon is a pause in a sentence, not the end of one.
That's why Amy Bleuel selected it for her mental health awareness campaign, Project Semicolon. The non-profit encourages people to draw (or tattoo) semicolons on their bodies as a way to represent and support those dealing with mental illness or loss of someone from suicide.
"I started it to honor my father," Bleuel told USA TODAY Network. "And to tell my story of my struggle with mental illness." Bleuel's father committed suicide in 2003. Ten years later, she launched Project Semicolon in 2013.
"I wanted to tell my story to inspire others to tell their story. I wanted to start a conversation that can't be stopped, a conversation about mental illness and suicide so we can address it and lower those rates," she said.
The semicolon is intended to encourage people to keep going in life.
"A semicolon 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," according to a statement on Project Semicolon's website.
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the USA, according to the most recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2013, there were 41,149 reported deaths from suicide.
The conversation Bleuel started took off and continues today with people taking photos of their tattoos and drawings and uploading them to social media with the hashtag #projectsemicolon or #semicolonproject.
"It's impacted people who struggle with self-harm, addiction and suicide, as well as people who have lost people from suicide and addiction. It's attracted everyone," Bleuel said.
**Please ALWAYS remember that while Mental Illness is not a choice, recovery is. Someone out there needs you to continue living!
"Suicide does not end the chances of life getting worse, it eliminates the chances of it getting better."
If you or someone you love are feeling suicidal, please remember that you are not alone and you CAN get through this! Please seek help immediately by reaching out to family, friends or one of many hotlines and centres that provide help.
To learn more about Project Semicolon or to view the full article, please visit http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2015/07/09/semicolon-tattoo-mental-health/29904291/ or http://www.projectsemicolon.com/