Vincent Mays began his career in mental health with a goal to empower, protect and assist individuals affected by mental disorders and illnesses. Since its inception, he has maintained proud support of The Semicolon Project, a well recognized nonprofit organization focused on mental health and suicide prevention.
The Semicolon Project was founded by Amy Bleuel in 2013. She developed the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization as a tribute to her father, who lost his battle with depression in 2003 and took his own life. Bleuel, who herself struggled with mental illness at as early as eight years old, was inspired by the symbolism of the semicolon. As she explained in countless interviews, authors use semicolons, rather than more concrete forms of punctuation (for example, a full stop/period), to represent an incomplete thought. Bleuel herself explained that authors use semicolons, rather than periods, to continue a sentence when they otherwise could have ended it. She transferred this definition into more of a symbolic meaning for The Semicolon Project.
In terms of The Semicolon Project, a semicolon represents continuing your life when you may have otherwise been tempted to end it at the hands of suicide. For the project, a semicolon is an empowering token which seeks to represent the idea that you can move on, continue and thrive after facing a battle with mental illness. Your story does not have to end.
Participants and supporters of the project have often received tattoos of a semicolon. Whether or not the tattooed individual has been affected by mental illness, the mark serves to unite mentally well and mentally ill individuals in solidarity. In a way, the tattoo advocates that the tattooed individual stands by mentally ill people.
As a nonprofit organization, The Semicolon Project works in communities across the nation to advocate for those affected by mental illness. The main goal is to provide hope, support and resources to those struggling with their own mental health. Another focus is to educate others.
Unfortunately, in 2017, just four years after the nonprofit was founded, Amy Bleuel took her own life after years of struggling with her depression. Her message and mission of love, support and change live on to this day.
Connect with Vincent Mays to learn more about Project Semicolon and other nonprofits promoting the improvement of mental health for all individuals across the globe.