Amy Bleuel, who founded Project Semicolon, has died at age 31. According to reports, the 31-year-old woman, who devoted her life to raising awareness about mental illness, committed suicide on March 24.
According to the Project Semicolon website, Amy Bleuel suffered from mental illness for more than 20 years. Although she was subjected to “bullying, rejection, suicide, self-injury, addiction, abuse and even rape,” Bleuel was dedicated to helping others overcome similar obstacles in their lives. Amy explained that she “was able to rise from the ashes, proving that the best is yet to come.”
At the age of 18, Amy Bleuel lost her father to suicide. Although she was devastated, the tragedy inspired Amy to found Project Semicolon in her father’s memory.
The semicolon represents a pause in a sentence. For Amy, it also represented a pause in one’s life. Essentially, the semicolon signifies an obstacle and a period of reflection. However, it does not signify an end. Instead, it is a point of new beginning and a promise that “your story is not over.”
Bleuel’s Project Semicolon website provides users with useful information about mental illness and encourages them to share their own stories. It also encourages users to actively promote mental health awareness and suicide prevention in their own communities.
Perhaps the most important portion of Amy Bleuel’s Project Semicolon website is the section encouraging people to seek help if they are overwhelmed. In addition to a mental health screening, the section provides users with links to local mental health clinics and suicide prevention resources.
Although she devoted her life to helping others cope with mental illness, Amy Bleuel continued to struggle with her own mental health. On March 24, family and friends reported that the 31-year-old woman had died. Within days, it was revealed that she took her own life.
It is unclear what specifically prompted Amy to commit suicide. However, in her last Facebook post, Bleuel said, “Depression takes root when the picture of the past is more powerful than the picture of the future.”
A native of Green Bay, Wisconsin, Amy Elizabeth Bleuel attended Northeast Wisconsin technical College, where she graduated with a degree in graphic design. Following graduation, she founded Project Semicolon — which raised awareness about mental illness and suicide prevention. In addition to founding the website, Amy traveled through the United States speaking about mental health issues and sharing her own personal story.
Amy Bleuel, who founded the Project Semicolon (n the semicolon tattoo) committed suicide last week at age 31. pic.twitter.com/eQB4QvvcpW
— – ltm.???? (@lavofthesea) March 31, 2017
According to her obituary, Amy enjoyed photography and travel. She and her husband, David, were also active members of Green Bay, Wisonconsin’s Spring Lake Church.
Services will be held at Pfotenhauer Funeral Home and Cremation Service on 2379 East Mason Street in Green Bay, Wisconsin, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon on Saturday, April 1, 2017.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, more than 44,000 Americans commit suicide each year. It remains the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.
Statistically, middle-class white men between the ages of 45 and 64 are more likely to commit suicide than any other demographic. Nearly 50 percent of suicides are committed with firearms.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reports “there is no single cause to suicide.” However, in a majority of cases, suicide appears to occur “when stressors exceed coping abilities of someone suffering from a mental health condition.”
Authorities have not officially confirmed Amy Bleuel’s cause of death. However, the AFSP reported that “based on reports [they] understand that Ms. Bleuel died by suicide.”
— Allie Wojtaszek???? (@Allie) March 30, 2017
The organization stressed that it is vital to prevent similar tragedies through continued efforts to raise awareness about mental illness and suicide prevention. Anyone who is struggling with mental illness or is feeling suicidal is encouraged to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.
Although Amy Bleuel lost her battle with mental illness, Organizations like the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and Project Semicolon remain dedicated to providing essential support to those in need of support.
[Featured Image by Marjan Apostolovic/Shutterstock]