Semicolon Tattoo Meaning | What Does This Symbolize?

A semicolon tattoo is a powerful symbol associated with mental health awareness and suicide prevention. It specifically gained meaning since 2013 with Project Semicolon.

ALSO READ: SA comedian Nina Hastie has love for tattoos

What does a semicolon tattoo mean?

A semicolon tattoo represents the semicolon punctuation mark (;) and serves as a symbol of support and unity for individuals who have faced challenges such as suicide, depression, addiction, and other mental health issues.

Caution: This article addresses the sensitive topic of suicide. If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please reach out to Suicide Crisis Line 0800 567 567. Available 24 hours. Languages: All 11 official languages of South Africa are supported

Where does semicolon tattoo come from?

The semicolon tattoo emerged as a symbol of mental health awareness and suicide prevention around 2013. It’s associated with Project Semicolon, a non-profit organization that specifically works to raise awareness and provide support for those dealing with these issues.

Who uses semicolon tattoo

People opt for semicolon tattoos to symbolize their personal battles with—and triumphs over—the ongoing struggle of suicide, or to show solidarity with those facing mental health challenges. Often meant to convey hope and inspiration, these tattoos are frequently discreetly placed, such as behind the ear or on the wrist, though many feature larger, intricate designs incorporating the semicolon punctuation mark. Additionally, the semicolon tattoo takes on other symbolic forms beyond tattoos, such as being printed on t-shirts or fashioned into pendants.

The significance of the semicolon tattoo in mental health awareness gained further attention with the release of the 2017 Netflix series “13 Reasons Why,” which is based on a 2007 young adult novel by Jay Asher focusing on the suicide of a high school student. Three individuals involved in the project, including actor Selena Gomez, who served as an executive producer, obtained the semicolon tattoo.

Apart from their association with mental health, semicolon tattoos are also embraced by individuals with Crohn’s disease to represent their community. The reasoning is that someone with Crohn’s disease or a similar condition may literally have a semi-colon, as a portion of the intestinal colon may need to be removed for treatment.

It’s worth noting that there are semicolon tattoos unrelated to either Crohn’s disease or mental health concerns, so it’s important not to make assumptions about someone’s life based solely on their tattoo choice. They may simply have a passion for semicolons.

Examples of semicolon tattoo

She proudly displayed her semicolon tattoo on her wrist, a symbol of her resilience and journey towards mental health recovery.

The actor got a semicolon tattoo behind his ear as a reminder of his struggles with depression and his determination to keep moving forward.

As a tribute to her friend who survived a suicide attempt, she decided to get a semicolon tattoo on her ankle as a symbol of support and solidarity.


In conclusion, semicolon tattoos serve as powerful symbols of resilience, hope, and solidarity, particularly in the context of mental health awareness. Whether discreetly placed or part of a larger, elaborate design, these tattoos carry deep personal meanings for individuals who have faced challenges such as suicide, depression, and addiction. Additionally, they represent a sense of community and support for those navigating similar struggles. As society continues to destigmatize conversations around mental health, semicolon tattoos stand as visible reminders of strength and the ongoing journey towards healing and recovery.

NOTE: This informal summary provides an overview of the meaning and usage of the term “semicolon tattoo” to aid users in understanding its significance. It aims to cover key aspects without adhering strictly to a formal definition, allowing individuals to enhance their understanding and familiarity with the term.

Image Courtesy: stylesatlife

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