Mental health campaigner who created Project Semicolon dies at 31.

Mental health campaigner who created Project Semicolon dies at 31
Amy Bleuel, 31, from Wisconsin, founded Project Semicolon in 2013 with one goal in mind – to help people struggling with mental illness, suicide and addiction. 

The woman behind a powerful mental health campaign which aims to lower suicide rates around the world has died. 


Amy Bleuel, 31, from Wisconsin, founded Project Semicolon in 2013 with one goal in mind – to help people struggling with mental illness, suicide and addiction.

She encouraged people to draw or tattoo semicolons on themselves as a message of hope – a sign that their story isn’t finished – and to fight the stigma of mental health.

Jeff Strommen, the chairman of the Brown County Coalition for Suicide Prevention who had previously worked with Amy, told Fox 11: ‘Her loss is felt tremendously both by myself and our community here.’

The most recent post on her Facebook fan page was written on March 20 and reads: ‘Depression takes root when the picture of the past is more powerful than the picture of the future.’

Amy struggled with mental illness for more than 20 years and experienced many stigmas associated with it.


After overcoming some of her struggles, she began sharing stories and giving hope to others struggling with mental illness.

On the Project Semicolon website, Amy, who lost her own father to suicide in 2003, wrote: ‘Despite the wounds of a dark past I was able to rise from the ashes, proving that the best is yet to come.

‘When my life was filled with the pain of rejection, bullying, suicide, self-injury, addiction, abuse and even rape, I kept on fighting.

‘I didn’t have a lot of people in my corner, but the ones I did have kept me going. In my 20 years of personally struggling with mental health I experienced many stigmas associated with it.

‘Through the pain came inspiration and a deeper love for others. Please remember there is hope for a better tomorrow.’

Amy Bleuel death
She passed away last Thursday 

Since the news of her passing was released, there has been an outpouring of support on the Facebook page.

One person wrote: ‘Just being real, being who you are, not being ashamed, or afraid to talk about things that are difficult to talk about, she did that well.’


Abuse, Misuse of Antidiarrheal Linked to Serious Heart Problems

Abuse and misuse of the commonly available antidiarrheal medication loperamide (Imodium, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc) has been linked to life-threatening cardiac events, according to a warning issued by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Taking higher than recommended doses of this medication, which is available over-the-counter and by prescription, can be cardiotoxic. The FDA reports that serious dysrhythmias can also occur when loperamide is used in combination with other medications that interact with it, including the those listed in the following table:

Generic Name Brand Name
Cimetidine Tagamet HB
Clarithromycin Biaxin, Prevpac
Erythromycin E.E.S., Ery-Tab, Eryc, Eryped, PCE
Gemfibrozil Lopid
Itraconazole Onmel, Sporanox
Ketoconazole Available by generic only
Quinidinea Nuedexta
Quininea Qualaquin
Ranitidine Zantac
Ritonavir Kaletra, Norvir, Technivie, Viekira Pak
aQuinine and its isomer quinidine are also present in tonic water.

However, the FDA also notes that most serious heart problems occurred in individuals who were intentionally misusing and abusing high doses of loperamide in attempts to self-treat opioid withdrawal symptoms or to achieve a feeling of euphoria.

Two recent case studies of loperamide abuse and subsequent death, published April 29 in the Annals of Emergency Medicine and reported by Medscape Medical News at that time, raised an initial red flag. Despite standard advanced cardiac life support, both patients were pronounced dead on arrival at the emergency department.

The FDA recommends that healthcare professionals consider loperamide as a possible cause of unexplained cardiac events, including QT interval prolongation, torsades de pointes or other ventricular arrhythmias, syncope, and cardiac arrest.

It also notes that in cases of abuse, individuals often use other drugs together with loperamide in attempts to increase its absorption and penetration across the blood–brain barrier, inhibit loperamide metabolism, and enhance its euphoric effects.

If loperamide toxicity is suspected, the FDA advises clinicians to promptly discontinue it and start necessary therapy. If loperamide ingestion is suspected, blood levels should be measured ,which may require specific testing.
For some cases of torsades de pointes in which drug treatment is ineffective, electrical pacing or cardioversion may be required. The FDA also recommend patients with opioid use disorders be referred for treatment.

Preventing sexual abusers of children from reoffending: systematic review of medical and psychological interventions.


Objective To evaluate the effectiveness of current medical and psychological interventions for individuals at risk of sexually abusing children, both in known abusers and those at risk of abusing.

Design Systematic review of interventions designed to prevent reoffending among known abusers and prevention for individuals at risk of sexually abusing children. Randomised controlled trials and prospective observational studies were eligible. Primary outcomes were arrests, convictions, breaches of conditions, and self reported sexual abuse of children after one year or more.

Results After review of 1447 abstracts, we retrieved 167 full text studies, and finally included eight studies with low to moderate risk of bias. We found weak evidence for interventions aimed at reducing reoffending in identified sexual abusers of children. For adults, evidence from five trials was insufficient regarding both benefits and risks with psychological treatment and pharmacotherapy. For adolescents, limited evidence from one trial suggested that multisystemic therapy prevented reoffence (relative risk 0.18, 95% confidence interval 0.04 to 0.73); lack of adequate research prevented conclusions about effects of other treatments. Evidence was also inadequate regarding effectiveness of treatment for children with sexual behavioural problems in the one trial identified. Finally, we found no eligible research on preventive methods for adults and adolescents who had not sexually abused children but were at higher risk of doing so (such as those with paedophilic sexual preference).

Conclusion There are major weaknesses in the scientific evidence, particularly regarding adult men, the main category of sexual abusers of children. Better coordinated and funded high quality studies including several countries are urgently needed. Until conclusive evidence is available, realistic clinical strategies might involve reduction of specific risk factors for sex crimes, such as sexual preoccupation, in abusers at risk of reoffending.

Source: BMJ