By: Dallas J. Short
Have you seen anyone in the past few months with a semicolon tattoo (either real or fake)? I would occasionally see it pop up on my Facebook news feed and noticed it randomly on the Subway, but I actually didn’t think much about it. I figured it was a random trend or some grammar nerd thing I was out of the loop on and I was definitely wrong.
Project Semicolon (The Semicolon Project) is a faith-based non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and love to those who are struggling with depression, suicide, addiction and self-injury. Project Semicolon exists to encourage, love and inspire. They have inspired similar organizations to start and embrace the semicolon.
A very powerful and much needed movement in a time where bullying, clowning and shaming seem to receive more attention than caring, supporting and understanding.
The Semicolon Project actually began two years ago, in the spring of 2013, when founder, Amy Bleuel wanted to honor her father whom she lost to suicide. Through the semicolon symbol many related to the struggle of depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide and their will to continue on. The title, “Project Semicolon,” also represented a goal – to believe that this is not the end but a new beginning. Though it is faith-based, you do not need to be religious to get behind this cause.
Mental health is, more often than not, a taboo topic with people concealing their illness for a multitude of reasons. Over 43 million Americans (about 19% of the adult population) deal with mental illness every year. We need to get to the point where it is not only safe to ask for help, but where we are eager to accept, support and advise people to seek out the proper help, without judgement. Like many other things that are a part of someone’s life path, this is not a choice and it does not make them any less of a person or less worthy of love. There is fear, mistrust and violence against people living with mental illness and their families and it has gone on for way too long. “Let’s make it stop today” would be the right thing to do, but easier said than done. We can start today in taking those steps though. That is why it is great when causes such as Project Semicolon garner attention and help raise awareness for those who feel alone and their friends and families.
“Never stop doing little things for others, sometimes those little things occupy the biggest part of their heart.”
To learn more about Project Semicolon http://www.projectsemicolon.com/
Have you seen the semicolon tattoo? Would you get one (real or fake) to show your support?
If there is anyone out there reading this and dealing with a mental illness or just having a rough time in life, always remember – you are not alone and your story is not over.
As always, I welcome any and all comments and if you like what you read be social and share.