‘Semicolon project’ hits Lacombe to raise awareness of mental health issues

A tattoo phenomenon where people are getting the symbol tattooed on their bodies to represent the struggle with mental health issues.

WARRIOR – The tattoo on Max McKinnon’s arm is a tribute to the semicolon project – a viral movement where people are getting semicolons tattooed on their bodies to symbolize a time where they could have ended their life

WARRIOR – The tattoo on Max McKinnon’s arm is a tribute to the semicolon project – a viral movement where people are getting semicolons tattooed on their bodies to symbolize a time where they could have ended their life

The Semicolon project is a tattoo phenomenon where people are getting the literary symbol tattooed on their bodies to represent the struggle with mental health issues.

Fifteen-year-old Max McKinnon of Lacombe has organized a day within his mother’s tattoo shop where proceeds from all semicolon tattoos will go towards Canadian Mental Health, to spread awareness of suicide prevention among other topics.

On Aug. 21st, three artists will be on location at Cin City Tattoo in Lacombe with a variety of semicolon tattoo options. Smaller tattoos are a minimum donation of $50, with a $10 supplies fee. Larger tattoo designs are a minimum $90 donation, with a $10 supplies fee.

“The semicolon project is a tattoo project for mental health awareness. The semicolon would be used in literature where the author can choose to end the sentence, but never did. In the project, the sentence is your life and the author is you,” McKinnon said.

“The tattoo has been really popular in the shop lately so we decided that we would start a fundraiser with it. A few years ago we did a cancer research fundraiser and raised just over $20,000. We want to do the same thing for the Semicolon Project.”

The day will feature five local bands – including The YoungFellas – providing free entertainment all day long, and two guest artists from the area. Tattoos are by walk-in only with all proceeds benefitting mental health awareness programs in the Lacombe and area communities.

McKinnon has a tattoo on his right forearm that says warrior, with the ‘I’ replaced by a semicolon.

“I lost six people in my life in two years – my tattoo represents fighting through the hard times in my life and moving forward to live a happy life,” he said.

“I’m excited it’s going to be a really, really busy day. Hopefully it’s non-stop with people coming in and a line going out the door. There’s a representative from Canadian Mental Health coming in and they’re going to be explaining a lot more about programs and where the money is going.

The event will run Friday, Aug. 21st from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

kmendonsa@lacombeexpress.com