The Project Semicolon trend has garnered support from businesses after social media created a buzz in recent months. The simple “;” symbol has become a sign to raise awareness for a variety of mental health issues, including depression, suicide, addiction, and self-harm. At first, social media showcased people drawing the punctuation mark on themselves, but now permanent tattoos are becoming popular.
— Project Semicolon (@ProjSemicolon) July 26, 2015
The trend founded by Amy Bleuel has gained enough momentum that even tattoo businesses are promoting their support of Project Semicolon.
The YouTube promotional video also explains how the project is intended to be a positive effort in support of those who struggle with mental health issues.
— Jared (@NervousJared) July 25, 2015
The real meaning of the semicolon is touching and intended to raise awareness about mental health issues. It is a subtle symbol for not ending one’s life in the same way that a semicolon pauses a sentence, but does not end it. This is a metaphor for surviving mental illness. People have warmed up to the idea, especially by getting the symbol as a tattoo.
“I started it to honor my father,” Bleuel told USA Today Network. Bleuel’s father committed suicide in 2003, and ten years later, she launched Project Semicolon as a way to raise awareness for suicide and to deter others who may be losing their battle with mental illness.
“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.”
Since suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S., according to the most recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, efforts to raise awareness about depression have become more and more relevant. There were 41,149 reported deaths from suicide in 2013. Non-profit organizations, like Project Semicolon, provide an easy way to participate in a cause to raise awareness and show support.
— Leah (@GmLderr11) June 23, 2015
The Project Semicolon cause has also prompted collaborations with Happy Soul Apparel. Supporters hope these developments will continue to grow and outreach at a global level.
[Photo courtesy of Project Semicolon/Happy Soul Apparel]