I was saddened to hear about the recent passing of thirty-one year-old Amy Bleuel, a mental health advocate and the founder of the Project Semicolon.
Project Semicolon was created by Bleuel in 2013 when she encouraged persons impacted by mental illness to draw a semicolon on their wrist and post a photo of the drawing on various social media platforms. In doing so she allowed mental health awareness and understanding to be generated in a global context, and her Project continue to exist in contemporary society.
Bleuel, on her website, explained the significance and meaning behind the semicolon: “A semicolon is used when an author could’ve chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life.”
I am a tremendous supporter of Bleuel and her efforts in the realm of mental health awareness. I discovered Project Semicolon while I was recovering from my own struggles with mental illness, specifically an eating disorder, anxiety and depression, and after gaining an understanding of its meaning I knew I wanted to represent the Project and Bleuel in a significant manner. I got a tattoo of a semicolon on my left wrist last Spring in order to represent how mental illness is not an ending sentence for those who encounter it, and for me personally my tattoo serves as a subtle reminder of what I have defeated already and encourages me to consider that I am capable of enduring and defeating even more if need be.
Mental health unfortunately encounters a lot of scrutiny in many regards, however Project Semicolon is an example of how to diminish and potentially eventually eradicate the stigma that surround it. It is not something to hide or be ashamed of, and Amy Bleuel aided in encouraging a societal acceptance of mental illness.
Rest in peace Amy.