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To most of us, the semicolon represents a punctuation mark. But to others, it is a symbol of strength and perseverance.

The semicolon is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as “ the punctuation mark ; that is used to separate major parts in a sentence and to separate items in a series if the items contain commas.”

Now, think of a sentence being one’s life and the writer being the sufferer of mental illness. The semicolon is placed as a representation of the person choosing to continue, not end, their life. A faith-based group has taken the idea of the semicolon and turned it into a way to represent strength. The organization was founded by Amy Bluel, who lost her father to suicide. 

“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,” reads the group’s website. “Project Semicolon exists to encourage, love and inspire.”

This message has led many to visually represent their connection to the symbol with a tattoo. There are so many people getting the tattoos that it has gone viral. There is even a non-profit organization called The Semicolon Tattoo Project. 


My story is not yet over; #semicolontattoo

A photo posted by Apryllea☆22☆Registered Nurse⭐️ (@alheya_dc) on


Don't let your story end. #semicolontattoo #semicolonproject

A photo posted by @waranchawint on

Whether the tattoos are permanent or temporary, wearers use the punctuation mark as way to bring awareness to mental illness and show their strength through their struggles.

Alex Bieger, a recovering addict, told Buzzfeed News, "It's a reminder for me that I made the choice to fight for my life instead of giving up." 

There's a story behind every tattoo and it seems that although each of these tattoos are similar, there is a unique and powerful story of survival and recovery behind each one. 

If you, or someone you know needs help call 1 (800) 273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. 

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