Semicolon is more than just punctuation: Ask me about my tattoo


Special to The Chronicle/John Mollura

A semicolon is used when a writer could have ended a sentence with a period but decided instead to keep on going.

In 2013, a young woman, mourning the loss of her father to suicide, started what has become the Semicolon Project. The faith-based nonprofit movement is dedicated to “presenting hope and love to those who are struggling with depression, suicide, addiction and self-injury,” according to its website. There are many ways to get involved to help the initiative get people talking about suicide prevention and mental health awareness.

Many people across the country and the world are participating by getting semicolon tattoos. Every time someone sees the tattoo and asks what it’s about is a chance to have a conversation about how to help others.

The effects of depression and suicide are a part of many people’s lives. If they aren’t dealing with their own issues, they know someone that is, or has committed suicide or has been impacted by suicide. Myself included.

Depression and suicide has impacted many people I care about, so on Friday I got a tattoo.

I walked over to Delaware Branding Co. in downtown Milford, at 19 N.W. Front Street. They said they have done a few semicolon tattoos recently and I added my name to that list. I got a simple semicolon put on the inside of my left forearm.

My tattoo artist, who goes by the name “Lucas the Kid,” did an excellent job. It didn’t take very long and it didn’t really hurt. This was my first tattoo. I am glad I waited to find something with meaning.

While reading about the initiative last week, I stumbled on a startling statistic. On average, 22 veterans take their own lives every day.

If you know someone that may be struggling with depression or contemplating suicide, seek help. In an emergency, call 911. Locally you can call the Kent/Sussex Mobile Crisis Unit at 1-800-345-6785. If you just want to talk to someone, call 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433).

When times get hard don’t use a period. Think about the semicolon and just keep going.

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