Tattoos have long been a way of expressing one’s creativity and celebrating their uniqueness. Most of us probably pass hundreds of people bearing tattoos every single week of our lives, but never really give much thought to what they may mean. We just appreciate their beauty and admire them from afar.
People get tattoos for inspiration, to honor loved ones, to commemorate special occasions or just because they like how they look. More often than not, there is a deeper meaning behind someone’s tattoo than just what’s on the surface and those meanings are quite personal for the wearer.
Getting a tattoo is a personal choice – one the wearer is going to have to live with forever. So it stands to reason that they would want to give lots of thought to what they are putting on their bodies instead of just following meaningless trends because everyone else is doing it. Or worse – getting a tattoo they will eventually regret – usually sooner, rather than later.
Tattoo trends featuring one single design usually don’t happen. The whole idea of getting a tattoo is to be unique and different. So why would you want to go around sporting the same tired design as thousands of other people? Well, believe it or not – there is actually one tattoo trend that is gaining popularity and has inspired people from all walks of life to do just that.
The semicolon tattoo has united millions of people across the globe in a show of support for people who are struggling with mental illness, depression and thoughts of suicide. A semicolon tattoo also represents someone who is battling those issues themselves. It is crazy to think that something as simple as a tiny punctuation mark can have such significance for so many people, but the creator of the semicolon movement intended it that way.
Amy Bleuel was the founder of Project Semicolon – an organization dedicated to the prevention of suicide. The semicolon movement began when Bleuel challenged people to draw a semicolon on their bodies and show it off on social media in support of those who are affected by mental illness or if they struggle with mental issues themselves.
“A semicolon is used when an author could’ve chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life,” said Bleuel.
Bleuel herself struggled with depression and mental illness all of her life, due to various traumas she had experienced for 20+ years of her life. Sadly, at the age of 31, Bleuel took her own life, but left behind a legacy that has reached more than five million people since Project Semicolon began in 2013. Today, Project Semicolon remains a vocal advocate for the prevention of suicide and offers a wealth of resources and support for those who may be suffering with thoughts of suicide.
Here’s a look at some great examples of semicolon tattoos.
WHO also reports that suicide is the second leading cause of death among people in the 15-29 age bracket.
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US.
40% of people who commit suicide have attempted to at least once before.
Males are four times more likely to die by suicide.
90% of suicide cases are affected by some mental disorder.
Europe has the highest suicide rate while The Mediterranean and parts of Asia have the lowest.
There used to be a stigma attached to mental illness. It was one of those deep, dark secrets that no one talked about because they didn’t want anyone to know their struggles. That’s not the case today. Millions of people openly and honestly talk about their mental illness and share their stories with others to inspire them not to suffer in silence. The world has become a safer place for those who are affected with mental illness to reach out and find the hope and support they so desperately need. Celebrities have done wonders for raising awareness about mental illness. Several well-known musicians and actors have openly discussed their struggles with their fans and have given other sufferers hope that they are not alone.
If you happen to see someone with a semicolon tattoo, chances are that person struggles with mental illness. However, these people do not want to be viewed as victims, as these tattoos are not brands of shame. Instead, they are badges of courage and symbols of strength that they choose to continue their sentence instead of ending it – and the promise to themselves that their stories are not over.