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.’
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.’