Semicolon tattoo brings attention to mental illness - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Semicolon tattoo brings attention to mental illness

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) -

Tattoos represent different things to different people but one symbol is striking a chord with people across the country.

You've seen a semicolon in writing, but this often forgotten punctuation mark is getting attention for starting a conversation about mental illness.

What's behind a tattoo?

According to professional tattoo artist Christ Hester it's, "sentimental value and other things."

One other thing recently fueling the tattoo industry is prevention and awareness.

"Depression, suicide, self harm, those things people don't like to talk about," said Kia Abernathy. "They don't want to acknowledge that and I think it's great that something as small as a tattoo can help people talk about that and realize there's others out there with the same problems."

That small tattoo popping up across the country is a semicolon.

Used to represent a time when an author could have chosen to end their sentence but chose not to.

As Project Semicolon says on its website, "the author is you and the sentence is your life."

For Jackson resident Kia Abernathy that small punctuation mark has a big meaning after she lost her way in 2013.

"I actually have mine behind my ear so I can't see it on a regular basis, but I know it's there," Abernathy said. "And at times when I'm having a bad day or feel like I can't take anymore or give up, I know it's there and that I can go on cause I've done it before."

When the idea originated people drew semicolons on their body for a day, but now it's become a more permanent representation of both the struggle and sometimes personal loss from mental illness.

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