Amy Bleuel, Founder of Project Semicolon, Dies at 31
April 3, 2017
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Amy Bleuel, founder of Project Semicolon, a non-profit organization dedicated to suicide prevention and mental health awareness died on March 24. Bleuel, 31, started Project Semicolon in April of 2013 as a way to reduce stigma around mental illness and provide support for those struggling.
In the about section of the Project Semicolon website it reads, “After overcoming many obstacles in her life including bullying, rejection, suicide, self-injury, addiction, abuse and even rape, Amy has found strength and a love for others. Amy struggled with mental illness for 20+ years and has experienced many stigmas associated with it. She now shares her stories around the nation giving hope to others struggling with mental illness.”
According to her death notice, Bleul graduated from Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in December 2014 where she earned a degree in graphic design. She gave presentations on behalf of the Project to groups throughout the country.
Bleuel visited the University of New Haven in 2016, one day after the three year anniversary of her launch of Project Semicolon.
“I’m here because I’m the voice for all the people who don’t have a voice or who feel they don’t have a voice,” she said at her discussion. “I encourage people to start the conversation, to have a dialog, to have a conversation.”
Bleuel has been a leader in the mental health industry since her founding of Project Semicolon. In 2016, she spoke to the Washington Post about her experience and how her mission has shaped the conversation on mental illness.
“People want to know they’re not suffering in silence, you feel alone like no one cares, to know someone is there, that is what these people go forth with, they take this energy to better themselves,” Bleuel said. “I think it’s just opening the minds of society. I would hope through my stories and platforms that they would see these are everyday people, just like you, and they’re attempting to make their lives better, but here is what they struggle with.”
The tagline for Project Semicolon is, “My story isn’t over yet.” The movement is meant to serve as a guide for those who are struggling with mental illness and help them realize that it doesn’t make them lesser or not normal.
Many people took to social media to express their grief over Bleuel’s death. SickNotWeak, another organization to helping people realize that mental illness is not a weakness, but a disease tweeted, “We are deeply saddened to hear of Amy Bleuel’s passing. She was an inspiration to many in the mental health community and Project Semicolon provided hope to countless people. We will miss her and her loss is felt deeply. We will honour her legacy by continuing our mission and end the stigma against mental illness.”
The Project Semicolon website opens to an image of Bleuel with the words, “one day, one girl told her story and that story changed the world.” It includes a quote from her saying, “Just don’t let them forget why I was here, because that’s what’s important.”
Bleuel believed that she was put on the Earth by God to spread this message of awareness and support, and many people who have met her have shown that they believe that she did that.