The Rise of the Semicolon

by Cassandra Elise


               Bullied since seven, struggling to belong, ignored when walking down the halls; sound familiar? For many, this seems to be a reality far too intense to handle. No matter what we say, one time or another, we have all gone through an event that shatters our self- worth. Today’s society makes teens feel the need to fit unreasonable standards of living. The clothes we wear, the way we look, what we do, everything. Those who aren’t fortunate enough to meet the standards are labeled as beneath others. Such a method of determining the value of someone leaves many feeling alone and useless. So much so, that the wrong word, look or just simply a bad day can drive an individual to want to end it all.

               According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control Prevention) suicide is ranked number 10 in leading cause of deaths in US population, with one American taking their life every 12.5 minutes.  CDC studies have shown that in teens, many stressors from family, peers, and relationships can overwhelm students with the responsibility of enduring the treacherous road ahead. Among all the triggers for suicide, bullying rises above the others. No matter if it is: physical, emotional, verbal, or cyber bullying, the pain hurts and has greater effects than we may think. The scope of those corrupted by the harassment is much wider than it seems.  In many cases, the victim(s), observers, and the bully all end up committing suicide – or experiencing related incidents. The growing number of lives taken every year is quite devastating. A recent article from the states that around 95% of teens that have committed suicide suffered from depression and at least half of students who admitted to considering committing suicide actually go through with the act.

                Starting in 2013, people began to fight against this trend of helplessness.  After losing her father to suicide, Amy Bluel decided to take action. She founded Project Semicolon. A semi-colon, the symbol of a chance to go on, of what could have ended but didn’t. In this new movement, the semi-colon indicates having struggled with a mental disorder or depression and having persevered. Social media is now buzzing with people sharing their stories of determination. As of late, the semi-colon movement has grown into a staple of strength and the power of support. Many have gotten tattoos or other ink markings of the punctuation in support or as a reminder of how we can all go beyond such experiences. Many improvements have been made in the spread of support and awareness for suicide.

                 The Semicolon Project is all about raising awareness and prevention of suicide. It highlights the importance of better educating ourselves of the crucial signs indicating that a person needs assistance. Things such as loss of interest in daily activities, increased fatigue, frequent episodes of crying at odd times, difficulty focusing or concentrating,  and dropping hints of not being around much longer. All subtle things that if detected and acted upon can be the difference to save someone’s life; an important number to keep at hand is the Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-8255.