For some the semicolon tattoo represents resilience, for others growth. What does it for you? (Image via Freepik/ Freepik)

Semicolon Tattoo: Journey from Adversity to Strength

Have you heard of 'Project Semicolon'? The semicolon tattoo picked up momentum as part of this movement, which was initiated in 2013 by Amy Bleuel. The movement aimed to raise awareness about mental health problems, promote the prevention of suicide rates, and minimize the stigma around mental illnesses.

The semicolon tattoo has transformed itself into a symbol that ignites conversations about mental health concerns, provides support for mental health problems, and is a reminder that people with mental illness are not alone.


While the tattoo itself has become synonymous with mental health awareness, the specific meaning and significance may be different for each person who gets it done on their skin.

Amy Bleuel is the pioneer of this movement. (Image via Freepik/ Freepik)


What Does Having a Semicolon Tattoo Mean?

What does the semicolon tattoo signify? (Image via Getty/ Getty)

The semicolon tattoo has been associated with mental health awareness and has become a symbol of hope and survival among people who have had constant struggles with mental health conditions. It is an attempt to bring awareness to the mental health issues concerning major depressive disorder, anxiety, and other psychological challenges that people struggle with on a daily basis.

By getting the tattoo done, you are supporting your journey with mental health issues and individuals who struggle with mental health concerns or have lost someone to suicide. This is a way to remind yourself to keep striving, no matter the challenges life throws at you. It serves as a symbol that there's much to their story of life, that this isn't the end yet, and that there is a ray of hope, healing, recovery, and life beyond mental health challenges.

The tattoo is a representation of a sentence that could have ended but did not, similar to how an author uses a semicolon when a sentence could have been concluded but they chose to keep going!


Semicolon tattoo Meaning: What Does it Signify?

Be kind towards those who have experienced mental health struggles. (Image via Unsplash/ Timothy Brock)

Some people choose to get tattoos done for fun, while others hold deep meaning for them. The semicolon is now widely recognized in the mental health community and can have various meanings:


1) Moving Forward

Just like a sentence doesn't end with a full stop when we want to continue writing, the semicolon tattoo serves as a reminder to keep moving forward in life. It symbolizes and upholds the fact that an individual has gone through a tough time, experienced mental health issues, or engaged in self-harming behaviors. It is a testament to one's journey from almost giving up to rewriting their story.

2) Hopefulness

Building a community, one day at a time. (Image via Getty/ Getty)

When we decide to persevere, hope prevails. As individuals with depression or other mental health concerns, we can be pushed to not believe in our strengths. The semicolon tattoo reminds individuals of their resilience and consoles them in times of distress. Famous singers, like Selena Gomez, also got the tattoo done to pay respects to her journey toward mental health and celebrate this movement of love, support, and empathy.


3) Eliminates Stigma

As a community, we have built huge walls between mental and physical health. While a tattoo representing physical health is glorified, a tattoo representing mental health is put under the spotlight. By showing off our tattoos, we hold conversations about mental health and encourage others to join in. It is an essential cue to eliminate the stigma around mental health.

4) Enhances Community Feeling

Semicolon tattoo is not in an end itself. (Image via Getty/ Getty)

When we feel lost and hopeless about our mental health struggles, we feel like reaching out. A single Instagram post can stir a conversation among the survivors to share their life stories. The semicolon tattoo enhances the 'we' feeling and acknowledges the community's journey toward mental well-being.


Although the semicolon sign serves as a constant reminder that an individual is willing, fighting, and surviving, many oppose this symbolism and think that the tattoo reminds them of negative aspects once they have taken charge of their lives.

For most individuals, the semicolon tattoo could still be inspiring, but many have stated that they removed theirs as they aspired for new beginnings for a fresh period of their lives, with no reminders whatsoever of their struggle against mental illnesses.

If you need a dose of daily reminders, then the semicolon tattoo can work positively. The goal of this tattoo is to encourage you to work on yourself and rejuvenate your body and mind with love, care, and loads of positivity.

Janvi Kapur is a counselor with a Master's degree in applied psychology with a specialization in clinical psychology.

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Edited by
Babylona Bora
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