Project Semicolon Paves The Way For Mental Health ConversationDr. Collins
Sweeping the nation is a movement that is opening eyes and doors to talk about mental health in a new way using a simple punctuation mark.
Project Semicolon aims to offer a reminder and a sign of shining light for those who are fighting through depression, self-harming tendencies, and addiction. The project takes its inspiration from the manner in which the punctuation is used.
“A semicolon is used when an author could’ve chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to,” according to the project’s website. The mark is a stark and beautiful reminder of those who have considered suicide and made the difficult climb back from the edge.
Many people are going so far as to tattoo the mark on their body, some who have gone through these difficult times, some who know or love someone who is struggling. The concept behind the project is actually easy, and anyone can join by simply drawing the semicolon on their body, usually on or around the wrist to help bring attention to mental health, and support those who have chosen to continue.
The movement was founded by Amy Bleuel, who has a very personal connection and deep understanding of choosing. Her father lost his battle with depression and took his own life in 2003, and she herself has battled mental illness when she was younger, including multiple suicide attempts as well as self-harm.
Bleuel said that she wanted to tell her father’s story and founding the project gave her a way to honor him.
The project started in April 2013, like so many other movements, on social media. Bleuel posted a flyer persuading people to draw semicolons on their wrists on April 16th, to show not only their own fight, but to support the friends and family members who fight mental illness.
According to her estimation the first Semicolon Day was more than 500,000 strong and has grown moving forward.
The movement has also taken to twitter where those who are struggling with self-harm, addiction, depression and other mental illness can connect by using the hashtag #ProjectSemicolon. These connections help offer encouragement, as well as support.
Though the project is considered faith-based, it has by no means remained only open to those with the same faith, it has instead grown out and expanded to include those from all different faiths, and lifestyles.
Project Semicolon offers a strong way for those struggling with mental illnesses to connect but should not be considered a replacement for therapy. If you, or someone you care about is struggling, there are resources for them to reach out to including mental professional hotlines like: 1-800-DONTCUT (1-800-366-8288) and 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). Don’t hesitate to get the help you need, for yourself, or someone you love.