***TRIGGER WARNING: SUICIDE***
Amy Bleuel, founder of Project Semicolon, has committed suicide.
Amy Bleuel, the American mental health campaigner and founder of Project Semicolon, has committed suicide aged 31.
Bleuel founded Project Semicolon in 2013. Wanting to inspire hope in those who have struggled with mental illness, she encouraged sufferers to upload pictures on social media of semi-colons drawn on their wrists.
They were intended to signify the power of the author in choosing not to end a sentence when they could have done, just as the wearer was doing by choosing to continue their life.
Bleuel’s own father passed away by suicide in 2003, and the project was conceived as a way to honour him and promote conversation about mental health and decrease societal stigma.
The project gained considerable traction on social media, and subsequently many people have had semicolons tattooed as symbols of their autonomy over their illnesses.
— Project Semicolon® (@ProjSemicolon) April 2, 2017
In 2016, Bleuel was interviewed for an article by the Washington Post featuring sufferers of mental illness criticising stigma.
‘People want to know they’re not suffering in silence, you feel alone like no one cares, to know someone is there, that is what these people go forth with, they take this energy to better themselves,’ Bleuel said.
‘I think it’s just opening the minds of society. I would hope through my stories and platforms that they would see these are everyday people, just like you, and they’re attempting to make their lives better, but here is what they struggle with.’
‘I wanted to start a conversation that can’t be stopped,’ she said, ‘and I believe I’ve done that.’
Bleuel leaves behind her family and husband, with whom she lived in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Condolences to the family. Amy Bleuel was an amazing woman.