On March 24, Amy Bleuel passed away at the age of 31. Bleuel was the founder of Project Semicolon, a movement designed to help those who are struggling with mental health conditions. She founded the group in 2013 after her father took his own life.
In an interview with People magazine in 2015, she explained the reason behind the semicolon and why it had become the cornerstone of her foundation. (“Amy Bleuel, Founder of Project Semicolon, Dies at 31 as Tributes Pour in for the Mental Health Advocate: ‘One Person Truly Can Make a Difference,’” 2017)
“The semicolon was chosen because in literature a semicolon is used when an author chooses to not end a sentence,” Bleuel told the publication. “You are the author and the sentence is your life. You are choosing to continue.”
Since Project Semicolon began, people have been getting the punctuation mark tattooed on their body. Bleuel had it tattooed on her left arm for her father, on her leg for her best friend, and on her left arm for herself.
But how does Project Semicolon help people in need of support in their fight against mental illness?
Project Semicolon: Bleuel’s Legacy
After Bleuel started Project Semicolon in the spring of 2013, many people found that they could relate to the challenges associated with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. In the end, Project Semicolon also began to represent a goal – “to believe that this is not the end but a new beginning.”
Through social media, the group has continued to grow in popularity around the world. However, it’s important to note that Project Semicolon does not consider itself to be a professional mental health service or group. It also does not offer 24-hour help services. Instead, it strives to be an inspiration to those looking to overcome mental health obstacles.
Understanding Mental Illness
Suicide is the third leading cause of death in people between the ages of 10 and 24, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. If you do not suffer from a mental illness, there is a good chance that someone you know may be impacted by it. (“Mental Health Facts,” n.d.-a)
Overall, one in five adults in the U.S. experience a mental illness, and 10 million live with a serious mental health condition. Luckily, there are resources today that are geared toward helping individuals seek the proper treatment. (“Mental Health Facts,” n.d.-b)
If you need to speak to someone, you can call 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Dialing 9-1-1 will also help you contact the proper authorities if you are feeling suicidal, or know someone in need of help. To find a mental health professional in your area, visit MentalHealthAmerica.net.