My name Ken, and I am or was the least likely guy to get a tattoo.
I was not “anti-tattoo”, in fact I was often intrigued by them, especially ones that carried a story.
Then in August 2014, I lost my son to depression, he like too many others suffered in silence, a victim not strictly of depression but of a stigma.
In his memory I planned to get an elaborate tattoo that honoured his greatest passion, the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Then I was introduced to the Semi Colon Project, a simple idea wth humble beginnings that has grown to become a symbol of suicide awareness. And a movement to end the stigma related to it
The idea is simple, it represents a point at which a story could end, but there is more to tell, the story is not over. For some it represents a point where they tuned away from suicide and decided they had more life to live, that they mattered, and for others it is a promise to lost loved ones that they too matter, and their story did not end with there time here on earth.
There was no turning back, the simplicity of the idea won me over, and six of us went to the parlour that day. Our stories are different but all of us with the same idea, to fight the stigma surrounding mental illness and suicide.
For me it is personal, a reminder that my son’s story did not end on August 21, 2014. His story is not over, he still matters.
And I welcome the opportunity it provides me to share with others.
You see talking openly about suicide and metal illness fights the stigma, and a stigma has a tipping point where it is eclipsed by acceptance. And acceptance gives people like my son opportunity to make better choices
I encourage you to look up the Semicolon Project, especially the original posting by Amy Bleuel
And for my son, for her father and so many others help us end the stigma and start conversations.