|Focus||Achieving lower suicide rates in the U.S. and around the world|
|Origins||Founded in 2013, ten years after the death of Amy Bleuel's father by suicide.|
|Method||Mental health advocacy|
Project Semicolon - stylized as Project ; - is an American mental health nonprofit organization that primarily functions as an anti-suicide initiative. Founded in 2013, the movement's aim is "presenting hope and love to those who are struggling with depression, suicide, addiction, and self-injury". They have been known for encouraging people to tattoo the punctuation mark semicolon (;) onto their bodies as a form of solidarity between people dealing with mental illness or death of someone from suicide.
Bleuel lived in Wisconsin. After her parents divorced, Bleuel chose to live with her father and his second wife at the age of 6. Since then, Bleuel endured being physically abused by her stepmother. At the age of 8, she was taken into state custody by a child protective service. Bleuel began self-harming and attempting to kill herself after she had been sexually abused at the age of 10, and raped at 13. At the age of 18, Bleuel's father died from suicide, and she was subsequently released from the system. In her early years in college, Bleuel was raped twice and suffered a miscarriage. Bleuel suffered from alcoholism at the age of 30 and had five major suicidal attempts.
Bleuel died on March 23, 2017, aged 31; the cause of death was ruled as suicide. She was romantically involved with her partner David.
Project Semicolon defines itself as "dedicated to presenting hope and love for those who are struggling with mental illness, suicide, addiction and self-injury", and "exists to encourage, love and inspire". While they are devoted to achieving lower suicide rates in the U.S. and worldwide, they do not themselves practice psychiatry, and the staff are not trained mental health professionals. Rather, they recommend contacting emergency hotlines (e.g. 9-1-1 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) or seeking mental health professionals. The movement is inclusive for people holding different beliefs or religions.
The movement became prominent in early July 2015. People have started uploading photos of their own semicolon tattoos through social media to support the movement, gaining attention from a variety of mainstream news outlets.
Amy Bleuel remarked on the initial outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, crisis hotlines having reported a major uptick, that "There's valid fear, and fear drives suicide. Also, sadness drives suicide. So these people are feeling this, and it's at an overwhelming extent that they're choosing to go that route."
A book titled Project Semicolon: Your Story Isn't Over was released on September 5, 2017. Published by HarperCollins, it is a compilation of stories and photos shared within Project Semicolon's online community.
Project Semicolon was echoed when actress Selena Gomez tattooed a semicolon onto her wrist to commemorate the premiere of 13 Reasons Why, a Netflix series in which she served as co-executive producer. Accordingly, the show's casts Alisha Boe and Tommy Dorfman have also tattooed the punctuation mark onto their wrists in commemoration of the suicide-themed drama series released in early April 2017.
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- Grisham, Lori (July 9, 2015). "Semicolon tattoos raise awareness about mental illness". USA Today. Retrieved October 18, 2016.
- "Project Semicolon — Our Founder". projectsemicolon.org. Archived from the original on October 13, 2016. Retrieved October 18, 2016.
- Rollins, Mark (June 27, 2016). "Interview with Amy Bleuel, Founder of Project Semicolon, and How to Fight Depression, Addiction, Suicide, and Self-Injury". The Gospel Herald. Retrieved October 18, 2016.
- Reinis, Samantha (July 9, 2015). "The Moving Meaning Behind the Viral Semicolon Tattoo". The Daily Signal. Retrieved October 19, 2016.
- "Why Me God? Why My Testimony? - A Story of Hope in The Midst of Despair". projectsemicolon.org. Archived from the original on September 18, 2015. Retrieved October 18, 2016.
- Blair, Nolan (March 30, 2017). "Project Semicolon founder dies". WBAY-TV. Retrieved April 3, 2017.
- "Project Semicolon — Our History". projectsemicolon.org. Retrieved October 19, 2016.
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- Bolton, Doug (July 4, 2015). "People all over the world are getting semicolon tattoos to draw attention to mental health". The Independent. Retrieved October 19, 2016.
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- "Project Semicolon's verified Facebook page". Facebook. February 14, 2017. Retrieved February 18, 2017.
- Desantis, Rachel (April 10, 2017). "13 Reasons Why cast gets semicolon tattoos to symbolize suicide prevention". New York Daily News. Retrieved April 12, 2017.