The Semicolon Challenge - Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

The Semicolon Challenge

A semicolon represents a sentence that was meant to end, but was extended. 

In the case of the "semicolon challenge," a semicolon serves to extend your life, to let you know there are reasons to go on, and that there are people who care.

"Somebody has to do something, and that's us, trying to make a dent in this issue," Semicolon Challenge founder Jay Lowder said.

Lowder been speaking to people about addiction and self-violence for nearly 20 years, but that's not where his experience with suicide ends.

" When I was 21 years old, I decided to end my life. I put a gun to my head, and through an interesting set of circumstance, my roommate came home early from work and interrupted the attempt," Lowder said. 

Ever since that moment, Lowder has dedicated his life to helping those thinking about harming themselves.

With the challenge, He wants to raise suicide awareness by using the power of social media. "We want to connect people who struggle and get them communicating with one another," Lowder explained, "knowing that the statistics prove that that is the greatest deterrent to suicide." 

The challenge involves four steps: changing your profile picture on social media to show support, drawing (not necessarily tattooing) a semicolon on yourself and leaving it there for seven days, and making a video about why you joined the movement and sharing it with the hashtag "semicolon challenge."

This is all part of an effort to show solidarity and for everyone to get involved.

"We don't want to just do the work of helping prevent the issue, we want to equip other people to do that, and we feel that's what we've done," Lowder said.

Lowder added that sometimes people struggling with these issues are intimidated to talk with those closest to them. So, Facebook and Twitter provide another avenue to start a life saving conversation

Since the project launched one week ago, Lowder says the response has been unbelievable, as people from all across the nation have taken the challenge on.     

All the information you need to get involved can be found here.

If you are concerned that you or someone you know may be at risk of suicide, contact the authorities, a mental health professional, or the suicide hotline at 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433).

Dave Caulfield, Newschannel 6

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