World Semicolon Day
annually on April 16th (since 2016)
World Semicolon Day is "a day to celebrate those who chose not to end their lives because their stories are not over yet." It pays tribute to those who have thought about or attempted suicide, and it informs people about how common suicide is. Suicide survivors mark the day by sharing their stories with the world, to raise awareness for mental health and suicide prevention. They share with their friends or more publicly on social media.
The semicolon is part of the day because when authors use semicolons, it shows that a sentence is not yet ended and that their story is not yet over. Those who choose to live show that they are the author of their own life and that their story isn't over yet and they are choosing to continue it. Some suicide survivors get semicolon tattoos on the day, as part of their way of sharing their story.
World Semicolon Day was started by Project Semicolon, an organization that works to prevent suicide, which was started by Amy Bleuel in 2013 in tribute to her father, who had died by suicide. Amy herself committed suicide and was found dead on March 23, 2017. World Semicolon Day was first held in 2016. The day has had different themes. For example, the theme of 2017 was "A Story Worth Sharing."
How to Observe World Semicolon Day
The day could be observed in the following ways:
- If you are a survivor of suicide, consider sharing your story with friends or online, to raise awareness about mental health and suicide prevention.
- Get a semicolon tattoo. You could do so if you are a suicide survivor or if you wish to pay tribute to friends and family members who are survivors. You could also post photos of your tattoo online.
- Visit the Project Semicolon website, where information about mental health can be found and stories of battles with mental illness can be shared. You can also donate to Project Semicolon to help them continue their work.
- If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, there is someone there to listen to you. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline can be reached at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).