Tallahassee Tattoo Fundraiser Sheds Light on Mental Illness

Project Semicolon
Posted at 8:45 AM, Apr 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-15 05:04:10-04

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) -- Getting a tattoo isn't the most comfortable experience, but neither is talking about mental illness.

So, with a simple punctuation mark, No Regrets Tattoos in Tallahassee will tackle both for one purpose.

"We get people coming in here asking for semicolon tattoos fairly often, but I actually wasn't aware of what it was," said tattoo apprentice Ann Heerema.

Project Semicolon is a national movement designed to raise awareness about mental illness -- through getting inked.

A semicolon marks an author's decision to continue a sentence rather than end it.

"We are the author and the sentence is our life, and so we want to carry on," said Peggy Smith, who's organizing Tallahassee's first-ever Project Semicolon event.

She lost both a close friend and a cousin to suicide -- less than six months apart.

"Those two events so close together just really created a desire to do what I could to make a difference," she said.

Smith worked with the owner of No regrets to organize a tattoo fundraiser. Half of the proceeds from all semicolon tattoos on Saturday, April 16 will go to Tallahassee's chapter of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness).

The parlor staff say it was a no-brainer to team up with Smith for the fundraiser, saying it will benefit the community in more ways than one.

"NAMI sounds like a good thing for us to support, and it's mutually beneficial to both our company and also to help them," Heerema said.

For Smith, it's been a personal mission to save lives.

"Doesn't bring anybody back, but maybe it helps another person from dealing with this pain and struggle," she said.

The fundraiser will take place at No Regrets Tattoos on 1116 North Monroe Street starting at 1 p.m. The semicolon tattoo will cost $50, and participants are encouraged to post photos of their tattoos on social media using the hashtag #semicolonproject416.

Organizers say the semicolon tattoo will cost 50 dollars.