THE semi-colon tattoo is growing in popularity and while it may be small, it has a very big and powerful message.
It has spread around the world as a symbol of strength in the face of mental health challenges.
What’s the meaning behind a semi-colon tattoo?
This tiny punctuation mark is an emblem for suicide prevention.
It is a symbol for choosing to continue to live in the face of challenges, and particularly mental health difficulties.
In English grammar, the semi-colon is a punctuation mark used to indicate a pause between two main clauses.
The author of a sentence uses a semi-colon where using a full stop is an option.
This is why it is now used as a message of solidarity against suicide and continuing to live.
It represents when a person could have ended their life, but chose not to.
The simple tattoo is usually inked in a very small size.
The symbol is an empowering message about overcoming struggles, particularly with depression and addiction.
Mental health campaigner Amy Bleuel made the semi-colon tattoo popular and chose it as a symbol for her anti-suicide work.
She said it is “used when an author could’ve chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to”.
She added “the author is you and the sentence is your life”.
The semi-colon tattoo is widely seen as a declaration of unity with others who might struggle with suicidal thoughts.
Many people who get the tattoo hope it will break down the stigma of talking about suicide.
Who has a semi-colon tattoo in 13 Reasons Why?
13 Reasons Why is an American Netflix drama series about suicide.
It is based on a novel of the same name and is about the suicide of student Hannah Baker and fellow student Clay Jenson.
Hannah leaves behind a box of cassette tapes.
They feature her telling listeners why she chose to end her life, and who she thinks is responsible for her death.
A number of people involved in the Netflix show decided to get semi-colon tattoos to commemorate the 2017 premiere.
Co-executive producer Selena Gomez got one, as did cast members Alisha Boe – who plays Jessica Davis – and Tommy Dorfman, who stars as Ryan Shaver.
Main character Clay visited a tattoo parlour to get a semi-colon tattoo in the first episode of season two.
What is Project Semicolon?
Project Semicolon – also known as Project ; – is an American nonprofit organisation.
It is an anti-suicide initiative which promotes mental health wellness and encourages people to keep battling against self harm.
The project encourages people to see the semi-colon as a symbol for choosing to continue living and telling others their story is not over.
Project Semicolon is based in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and was founded by Amy Bleuel in 2013.
Amy founded it as a tribute to her father, who died by suicide in 2003.
Bleuel reportedly died in March 2017, aged 31 and the cause of death was ruled as suicide.
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The project is devoted to lowering suicide rates in America.
It doesn’t offer psychiatry or counselling, they point people towards resource which might help.
The organisation uses the semi-colon as its symbol.
YOU'RE NOT ALONE
EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.
It doesn’t discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.
It’s the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.
And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.
Yet it’s rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
That is why The Sun launched the You’re Not Alone campaign.
The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.
Let’s all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You’re Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
- CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
- Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
- Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
- Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
- Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123