Why You’re Seeing Semicolon Tattoos Everywhere — and What They Mean

posted: 07/10/15
by: Mara Betsch

Every tattoo has a story, and the semicolon tattoos that are gaining popularity have a particularly interesting one. If you've seen headlines and perhaps even pictures of them in your Instagram feed, it's all due to Project Semicolon, a faith-based nonprofit that is hoping to help those struggling with depression, suicide, addiction and self-injury.

Why the semicolon? Writers use semicolon as a pause between ideas, and the site claims "a semicolon is used when an author could've chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to." Those who are battling demons may use the semicolon as a symbol of their own internal conflict as well as their choice to keep living and keep fighting.

The founder Amy Bleuel got her own semicolon ink to remember her father, who took his own life when she was just 18. Though she started the organization two years ago, the movement has caught fire, and tattoo artists are getting more and more requests for this particular punctation mark.

This is unsurprising considering about one in four adults experiences some form of mental illness in a given year, and about 14.8 million people live with serious depression, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. We applaud the semicolon project for providing a way for those suffering to acknowledge these tough issues and hopefully get help and find peace. Below are some of our favorite empowering semicolon tattoos:

#tattoo #semicolonproject #projectsemicolon #firsttattoo @radiodaniellemonaro @radiobethany

A photo posted by @jodfoster on

Go solo. #ProjectSemiColon#fight#depression#be#a#brave#heart

A photo posted by Nikita Dhanania (@itsagypsylife) on

May the panic be with you. #semicolon #projectsemicolon #semicolonproject #TheSemicolonProject

A photo posted by Raffaella Stacciarini (@raffaellastacciarini) on

If you thought tattoos were meaningless then this message might change your mind. Link in bio #ProjectSemiColon

A photo posted by sofeminineuk (@sofeminineuk) on