This Is What Those Semicolon Tattoos Mean

By Epoch Newsroom
Epoch Newsroom
Epoch Newsroom
January 31, 2016 Updated: January 31, 2016

On social media sites, you may have spotted people with drawings or tattoos of semicolons somewhere on their bodies—usually their wrists or arms.

There’s a reason for it (and no, it’s not to promote the proper usage of the punctuation mark).

The idea behind the trend, known as the “Semicolon Project,” is to promote mental health. “The semicolon is used when a sentence could have ended, but didn’t,” the mission statement reads, according to The Independent.

It was founded by Amy Bleuel in 2013 after her father killed himself. The semicolon was done as a tribute to him. The movement 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,” it adds.

Bleuel says that one doesn’t need to be religious or spiritual to support the movement.

Alex Bieger, a recovering addict who got a semicolon tattoo, explained why to BuzzFeed. “It’s a reminder for me that I made the choice to fight for my life instead of giving up,” he said.

According to the Project Semicolon site:

This began in the spring of 2013, when Project Semicolon 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.

As the days passed and the project was developed further, it became clear that this symbol was not just about one person. We heard from people longing to continue their story and live a life that would inspire others to continue on as well.

Over the years Project Semicolon has become much more than just one person honoring a parent. Through musician support and social media, the message of hope and love has reached a big audience in many different countries, more than we could have ever anticipated.

Project Semicolon is honored to be a part of those continuing stories, and to be an inspiration to those who are struggling.

We are not a 24-hour helpline, nor are we trained mental health professionals. Project Semicolon hopes to serve as an inspiration.

If this is an emergency, or if you are worried that you or someone you know may be at risk for suicide, please call your local authorities (911), contact a mental health professional, or call and talk to someone at 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433).