In the coming weeks, you might see a lot more tattoos like the semicolon behind Amy Ridle’s right ear or the fresh one on her upper arm.
Ridle, shop manager for Taku Tattoo, received her new ink ahead of the Friday, Nov. 30, Survivor of Suicide Tattoo Special, which will raise money for suicide prevention in Juneau. She anticipates others will opt for stylized versions of the punctuation mark that’s become a national symbol for suicide prevention, too.
The semicolon has been adopted as a suicide prevention symbol because it represents an author’s decision to continue a sentence instead of ending it.
“It’s always there as a reminder,” Ridle said. “This is something we’re hoping to make an annual thing. It’s about mental illness and making it known (that mental illness is) not something that should be hidden.”
Taku Tattoo and Juneau Suicide Prevention Coalition are partnering to raise funds for suicide prevention. On Friday, Nov. 30, business-card-sized tattoos will be $50 at the tattoo parlor located in the airport mini mall, and half of the cost will go to Juneau Suicide Prevention Coalition.
Ridle said the special will start at 10 a.m., and last until, “the guys can’t go anymore.”
The seeds for the idea were planted when Ridle and Taku Tattoo owner Mario Singh discussed the possibility of holding an event focused on covering up scars. At first the idea was to cover up scars for people who have had mastectomies, but changed to be geared toward survivors of self-harm and gender-based violence.
Talks began with Jan Reece, outreach coordinator for Juneau Suicide Prevention Coalition, who credited communication specialist Hannah-Laura Henderson with the idea on JSPC’s side of the equation, and an event was quickly planned to raise funds for suicide prevention in general.
The special will be open to anyone who would like a tattoo.
“It’s helping me kickstart this idea that I’ve had,” Ridle said. “This is all happening really, really fast.”
The reason for the speed was so the event could happen the same month as Survivor Day, which was Saturday, Nov. 17.
Reece said immediately after she posted news of the project on Facebook, her post was shared and survivor stories started making their way to her inbox. Her initial post has since been shared more than 75 times.
At least one person has already donated $50 so someone else can get a tattoo. Reece said people interested in donating can call Taku Tattoo at (907)586-2221, or reach out through JuneauSuicidePrevention.org.
“The thing that really affected me the most is that I had 12 people DM me and say, ‘Can I get a scar tattooed over?’” Reece said.
Ridle said it’s definitely possible — she has had scars covered by tattoos in the past.
Designs that make for a good cover-up tattoo can vary by person, Ridle said.
“The artist really needs to see what they’re working with,” Ridle said.
Small tattoos cannot be as detailed as larger ones, Ridle said, and she and Reece said they anticipate the Survivor Day-related special to inspire semicolon tattoos and other ink related to suicide prevention.
However, those receiving tattoos will not be limited in their choices.
“We like creativity,” Ridle said.
Know & Go
What: Survivor of Suicide Tattoo Special
Where: Taku Tattoo, 9310 Glacier Highway
When: 10 a.m., Friday, Nov. 30
How much: Business-card-sized tattoos cost $50, and half the proceeds go to Juneau Suicide Prevention Coalition.
• Contact arts and culture reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or email@example.com.