What is the function of a semicolon? It marks where there might have been the end of a sentence, but instead it continues on. That is the idea behind the semicolon tattoo, a mark meant to represent  the choice of life and struggle despite issues of mental health. It’s also the symbol that represents Project Semicolon, a group that “emphasizes the importance of community and non-judgmental support in recovery.”

Project Semicolon Stands for Issues of Mental Health

The poet Lewis Thomas once “said the semicolon leaves ‘a pleasant little feeling of expectancy; there is more to come; read on; it will get clearer.'” His words were put to good use when the mind behind Project Semicolon, founded back in 2013, publicized a concept that would help to change the way that we think about depression and other forms of mental illness, particularly as they relate to self-harm and the risk of suicide.

Amy Bleuel is the woman behind the “global non-profit movement

[which] is dedicated to providing support for those struggling with mental illness, suicide, addiction, and self-injury.” With a symbolic focus on the semicolon, Amy has built a message of hope for all who have suffered from the above or who have lost loved ones to them, as Amy herself did in 2003.

Though the symbol has often been utilized as a tattoo, that hadn’t been the creator’s original purpose. After losing her father, she wanted to be able to promote awareness and to bring some inspiration to those most in need of it. Those who have had the semicolon tattooed use the physical presence of the mark as a reminder that there can be hope to go on no matter how bleak things can seem. It also can begin conversations which then can get people talking about a sensitive subject and one that doesn’t have nearly as much talk surrounding it as it should.

“As a registered charity, Project Semicolon raises funds to help fight stigma and present hope and love to those in need.” Not only is it a movement that can bring about change to brighten lives, but it’s also an active contributor to organizations that can provide external, tangible aid and relief for people who are suffering.

The ‘official’ day surrounding the project is April 16th, but the concept is one that should be celebrated throughout the year. Amy’s work has provided countless people with hope for a kinder future. Awareness needs to be raised at all times and not only on one particular day. Mental illness and addiction are both enormous problems throughout the world and “the importance of community and non-judgmental support in recovery” that Project Semicolon offers are invaluable. Changing the way that people discuss these issues begins with a single person who spreads their message to others, and so on. Only then can those who need it really receive thorough support in recovery from addiction and depression.

Issues of mental health call for unity and education. They are eased with care and understanding and patience. One of Amy’s favored phrases is “love endlessly,” which she incorporated into the group’s mission statement: “stay strong; love endlessly; change lives.” Just as it says, it takes strength and love to bring about change, and those things come both from others and from within.

You should never be ashamed if you are struggling with issues of mental health. To seek out aid for depression, addiction, or other mental health care needs, or if you need support in recovery, get in touch with The Bergand Group. The Bergand Group is Maryland’s leading addiction recovery center and offers support for those struggling with addiction and mental health issues, including medication management strategies.  We can help you to work through your addiction in a safe and healthy environment where everyone is committed to your care.

About The Bergand Group:

At The Bergand Group in Baltimore and Harford County, Maryland, our therapists have more than twenty years of experience in the mental health and addiction fields. Our focus is on providing comprehensive mental health care and appropriate care for addictive disorders. We offer both alcohol rehab and drug rehabilitation. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or substance addiction, there is help available. We also offer several other services, including family therapy and counseling. We can help. Contact us today.