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Project Semicolon isn't a trend, it's a movement

By Michelle Lindsey
On October 26, 2016

 

Editor’s Note: The name of the student quoted in this article as Robert White has been changed to protect their identity.  

Project Semicolon, a movement that seeks to help people who struggle with mental health issues exists globally as well as through Kirkwood Community College students. Semicolons have sprung up and taken over as a new trend in tattoos, phone cases, diaries, jewelry and more. Thanks to the Active Minds organization on campus, students will also be seeing semicolon stickers around campus.

On Oct. 4, Active Minds placed 1,100 white flags outside Iowa Hall to reflect the number of college students who die each year by suicide. That same day, they handed out semicolon stickers. Liberal Arts student John Loftus said, “I’ve seen people with the semicolon tattoo but never knew what it meant, until now.”

The movement Project Semicolon has a website dedicated to raising awareness and showing people how to find help. Kirkwood student Robert White said, “I’ve known about the project since 2013 when it started, but you never really hear about it. It's a wonderful thing. I think it's awesome that people are trying to get suicide out of the darkness and into the light. As one who has attempted my own life, several times, I can say I'm proud to see people taking this seriously and not as a joke.”

According to the website, projectsemicolon.org, “Amy Bleuel wanted to honor her father whom she lost to suicide. Through the semicolon symbol many related to the struggle of depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide and their will to continue on. The title, “Project Semicolon,” also represented a goal- to believe that this is not the end but a new beginning.”

The website also has a blog, a list of events that students can get involved with, as well as a store that sells semicolon merchandise. Money raised through merchandise and donations go to the non-profit charity and allow Project Semicolon to work with licensed therapists and doctors. The movement clearly states that while they can provide resources to find help, they are not a 24-hour helpline or trained mental health professionals. The main purpose the organization gives on their website is, “Project Semicolon hopes to serve as an inspiration.”

 

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