Project Semicolon is a foundation based out of Colorado but has received worldwide attention. It is founded by Amy Bluel and is well known for being very inclusive of any religion, race or gender. Although this foundation is doing great work, it also comes with a tragic tale.
Project Semicolon was founded by Amy Bluel in 2013. Amy suffered from an extremely tumultuous childhood. She was abused at the hands of her stepmother and lost her father to suicide. Along the way she spent time in the state custody system. After turning 18 and being on her own, she faced years of depression, suicidal thoughts, and five suicide attempts.
In April 2013, Bleuel took to social media with an idea. She wrote that anyone who had ever struggled with a mental illness should draw a semicolon on their wrist and post a photo. A semicolon symbolized that a sentence wasn’t over yet, and neither was their life. The tagline was: Your story isn’t over. Since then, it’s estimated that millions have shared photos of semicolons on their bodies, both drawn and permanently tattooed, as part of a burgeoning effort to erase the societal shame long associated with mental health.
Within the belief that suicide is generally preventable, the mission of Project Semicolon is to help reduce the incidents of suicide in the world through connected community and greater access to information and resources. Their mission statement explains that they believe that suicide prevention is the collective responsibility of each and every person on the planet. Project Semicolon works at the international, national, state and local levels to prevent suicide using a public health model in suicide prevention; concentrating its efforts on education and awareness. Project Semicolon operates by the guidelines published in the Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent Suicide and the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. Project Semicolon Board of Directors, staff, and volunteers have included survivors who bring a special affinity for suicide prevention, along with other skills, to ensure organizational growth, development and effective management and operational talents to the agency.
Sadly, Amy Bleuel took her own life on March 23rd, 2017. In no way does this mark the end of Project Semicolon. In fact, those who knew Amy urge people to continue to support Project Semicolon. Amy made it her life’s mission to support others experiencing similar struggles and Project Semicolon will be her legacy.