The punctuation mark has become a symbol of hope for people struggling with thoughts of suicide.
A little more than a week after the release of her new Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, Selena Gomez and cast members Alisha Boe and Tommy Dorfman got matching tattoos that carry a powerful message. On Sunday Boe shared a photo of the three of them with their wrists held up to the camera, showing off their new ink.
"I have received so much love and support from all of you who are watching 13 Reasons Why. Today- Tommy, Selena and I got tattoos of a semicolon," she wrote in the caption.
Why a semicolon? The punctuation mark has come to symbolize hope for those who struggle with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicidal thoughts. As Dorfman put it in his own Instagram post, the semicolon means "a beginning of another chapter in life, in lieu of ending your life."
Project Semicolon was started in 2013 by activist Amy Bleuel, who lost her father to suicide. Tragically, Bleuel, who suffered from mental health issues for more than 20 years, passed away from suicide earlier this year.
The trio's tattoos are both a tribute to Bleuel, and an effort to raise awareness about suicide prevention. The plot line of their series follows high school student Clay Jenson as he attempts to understand why his classmate Hannah Baker chose to end her life.
Gomez, who executive produced the show, has been very open about her own struggle with anxiety and depression, and has said she identifies with Hannah in the show. "I see myself in Hannah so much. Seven years ago I did and even more so today," the singer told The Hollywood Reporter.
Dorfman can also relate. The actor struggled with addiction and depression during high school and college. "I reached out and asked for help. At the time, I thought my life was over, I thought I'd never live past the age of 21," he wrote on Instagram. "Today I'm grateful to be alive, in this new chapter of life in recovery, standing with my colleagues and friends, making art that helps other people."
The actor encourages anyone who is going through their own difficult time to reach out: "Ask for help," he urges. "Start a new chapter with the support of others."