Gaayathri Sukantha, I Year B.A. Fine Arts
Krishna J. Nair, I Year B.A. English
Image credits: Twitter
Cancer, smoking, heart disease, suicide – the only factor linking them together is that these are the world’s leading causes for death, and suicide seems to be the most ignored one.
Millions of people struggle to find a reason to live, every single day. These people are not “weak”, but are pushed to the extent that they feel like ending their life is the only way out of the labyrinth of suffering. September 10th is observed as World Suicide Prevention Day in an effort to unite the people and send the message out clear – to be there for each other every step of the way.
The Dead Poets Society brought together different writers under one roof and, in 2013, Amy Bleuel came up with a similar idea called ‘Project Semicolon’ to bring people struggling with mental illness and suicidal intentions together and share their troubles. Most people are aware of this project because of viral posts by people who got themselves a semi colon tattoo, and some came to know about this last year, upon the passing away of Amy Bleuel herself.
With the slogan ‘Your Story Is Not Over’, Project Semicolon functions as an anti-suicide initiative for anyone who is struggling to find a reason to stay alive. It was started in Wisconsin, United States by Amy Bleuel, after the tenth death anniversary of her father who committed suicide. Having lived through a childhood that included harassment, sexual abuse and self harm, she introduced this initiative to bring together people so that they can realise that they are not alone in this world. A semi-colon is also used by writers where they could’ve ended their sentence, but chose not to. Hence, it is a symbolic way of saying that you could’ve ended your life, but you chose not to.
Some people also get this tattoo to show their support for a friend who is feeling suicidal or depressed; to show them that there is someone who understands them and chooses to stand by them.
The whole purpose of the project is not to sympathise, but rather, empathise.
Project Semicolon has helped in connecting people who are going through the same emotion. By communicating their hardships through this platform, they acknowledge that as they are all travelling in the same boat, and that if one ever wishes to drown, there will be another to help them up again.
It is a poetic tragedy that the founder of the project Amy Bleuel, committed suicide on 23 March 2017. The whole purpose of the project comes to a standstill when the creator herself stands as an irony for the project. Nevertheless, what started as a project with good intention continues to do so as this gives them the hope that sometimes, the story never ends.
If you are ever in need to talk to someone, vent out your emotions, or feel that there is no point in living at all, reach out to someone you trust; talk it out. There will always be someone who is willing to listen.
Suicide Prevention Helpline: 044 2464 0050/60 – Sneha Suicide Prevention Center, Chennai.