Sometimes a tattoo is more than meets the eye.
Supporters of Project Semicolon, which describes itself as “a faith-based non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and love to those who are struggling with depression, suicide, addiction and self-injury,” are getting the grammatical symbol tattooed on their body to show their solidarity with the project’s mission.
The project was started in 2013 by Amy Bleuel, who was inspired by her own personal struggle with depression, mental illness, suicide attempts and the loss of her own father to suicide. She decided to turn the semicolon into a symbol of hope and love for those who were struggling.
Although tattoos were not originally a part of the movement, they are a testament to its growth over the years.
“Supporters just chose to get the tattoos on their own,” Bleuel tells PEOPLE. “The project was started by asking others to draw a semicolon on their wrist to show support. The semicolon was chosen because in literature a semicolon is used when an author chooses to not end a sentence. You are the author and the sentence is your life. You are choosing to continue.”
The project has now spread its influence further than Bleuel ever anticipated.
“Over the years Project Semicolon has become much more than just one person honoring a parent,” reads the group’s website. “Through musician support and social media, the message of hope and love has reached a big audience in many different countries.”
While the organization does not provide mental health services, they aim to be a source of inspiration. Bluel hopes the project can continue to grow.
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“We hope to continue to build the project as a non-profit through public speaking and outreach, as well as partnering and donating to organizations with similar missions,” she says. “We also hope to finically contribute to education and treatment.”