Project Semicolon Uses the Power Of Ink for Mental Health Awareness

Permanent punctuation to spread an important message.

In the sea of tattoos that people are regularly getting these days, you may have noticed a few more semicolons in the bunch. The ink is a permanent statement meant to raise awareness about managing mental illness or the loss of a loved one to suicide, the signature for Project Semicolon.

The “faith-based nonprofit movement” was started by Amy Bleuel, whose father committed suicide in 2003. (The nonprofit was launched a decade later.) The use of the semicolon in this effort is much like its use in writing: “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.” Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US, reports USA Today.

People magazine notes that the project doesn’t provide mental health services, but its site provides all sorts of resources through partnerships, and offers inspiration for those who are struggling.

The willingness of participants to go under the needle to make this statement is striking, showing their commitment to the cause and the importance of addressing an issue that leads to the deaths of tens of thousands every year. When a cause is important and worthwhile, coupled with an affirmation of strength and survival, people will do what it takes to get their message out and make a difference.

The project has gotten a heap of buzz in recent days, with the tattoos and drawings becoming fuel for lots of moving slideshows. Here’s one from PopSugar that’s worth clicking through.