Canadian Youth Using Semicolon Rings and Tattoos to Create Awareness About Suicide

There is a movement which is growing in popularity for using semicolon tattoo to create awareness of people suffering from mental illness. The name of the organization is Project Semicolon. This is an American based non-profit organization that focuses on an anti-suicide mission. Many people are getting inked with semicolon tattoos. It might not seem like a good idea to get a tattoo but this one is different. The semicolon tattoo is used as a reminder to people suffering from mental illness, addiction, depression, and suicide, that their story is not over yet.

It is estimated that one in every five Americans suffers from mental illness every year, which can lead to problems such as depression. Another one in every twenty-five Americans suffer from serious mental illness, which prevents them from functioning properly every day. The reality is that these people live with us and they need help. This movement is there to encourage people suffering from one or more mental illness not to give up but to continue telling their story.

Meaning of the Semicolon Ring

A semicolon symbol is usually used in a sentence when a writer decides not to end it but pauses then continues on. The sentence represents your life while the writer is you. The semicolon ring is used by the project to remind people suffering from suicidal thoughts to keep living and tell their story. Many people are using the semicolon symbol on jewelry as a reminder that despite their struggles, they have the strength to move on, and tell their story.
The Project Semicolon was started back in 2013 with an aim to present love and hope to people struggling with suicide, addiction, depression, and self-injury. People are encouraged to be creative and ink a semicolon tattoo as a form of solidarity with someone suffering from mental illness or death of a loved one due to suicide. The founder of this movement Amy Bleuel hoped that the semicolon tattoo started a conversation about mental illness that could not be stopped. Although the organization was started 5 years ago, it is in recent times that the semicolon tattoo has gained traction on social media.

About Amy Bleuel

Amy Bleuel started the organization after losing her father to suicide in 2003. At the age of 6, Bleuel was living with her father and stepmother in Wisconsin. She underwent physical abuse from her mean stepmother, until the age of 8 when a child protective service took her into custody. Amy began self-harming and contemplated suicide after she was sexually abused at 10 years old and raped at 13 years old. Amy’s father passed on from suicide while she was 18. College life was not easy for Amy as she was raped twice and suffered a miscarriage. While she was 30, Amy suffered from alcoholism. She passed on last year at the age of 31 of a cause believed to be suicide.
Amy’s Project Semicolon is still alive and growing, and represents a choice to live for those who have contemplated suicide. The movement encourages people to pass the message on social media to keep the conversation going. People can share stories and pictures of hope on social media to give strength to people suffering from mental illness. Although this project is one of many that promotes suicide awareness, its simple symbol and message resonate with millions of people.