The heartwarming reason why so many people are getting semicolon tattoos.

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Semicolon tattoos are everywhere at the moment. But there’s a heartwarming reason behind the trend.

Trigger warning: This post deals with issues of depression, anxiety, self-harm and other forms of mental illness and may be triggering for some readers. 

We’ve seen the white tattoo trend, less permanent tattoos, like Beyonce’s favourite flash tattoos, and the slightly more extreme eyeball tattooing.

So when we started to spot semicolon tattoos everywhere, we assumed it was just another the tattoo fad. We couldn’t have been more wrong.

semicolon tattoo
For many who have contemplated suicide, the semicolon is a symbol of hope.

After doing some investigating, we found that it’s so much more than a passing trend. Project Semicolon is a non-profit dedicated to supporting people dealing with depression, anxiety, self-harm, and other forms of mental illness.

The message is simple: “A semicolon represents a sentence the author could have ended, but chose not to. That author is you and the sentence is your life.”

For many who have contemplated suicide, the semicolon is a symbol of hope. (Post continues after gallery:)

The project began in 2013, when Charlee Chandler and Matthew Wills began to post images of semicolons drawn on their wrists, to support those suffering from mental illness. Soon after they founded The Semicolon Project.

Project Semicolon encourages a discussion around mental health, for both those suffering from mental illness, and their family and friends.

Their website explains: “By writing a semicolon on your wrist, you are making a promise to yourself that it is ok to reach out and seek for help… stand up for you or anyone you know who has depression, anxiety, has self harmed or has contemplated suicide and help our peers, our friends and our family know that we speak up for them and that we stand up against Mental Health and the stigma that’s attached to it.”

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You can listen to the full Mamamia Out Loud podcast here

The original semicolon event, held two years ago, was so successful that the project is now ongoing. You can read more about it here.

A spokesperson from Lifeline Australia explained that most people who consider suicide do not want to die, and are, instead “attempting to escape unbearable mental pain and anguish”.

Feeling depressed or know someone who could be suicidal? Lifeline offers these three practical tips:

1. If you think someone might be suicidal, ask them directly, “Are you thinking about suicide?”- don’t be afraid to do this, it shows you care.

2. Listen and stay with them.

3. Get help – call a crisis line like Lifeline 13 11 14 or 000 if life is in danger. Get support for yourself too.

What do you think of the semicolon tattoo trend?

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‘What I’ll tell my children about my self-harm scars.’

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