GREAT BAY – Love & Semicolon is an art project created by Escaping The Vault (ETV) and the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) to raise awareness for suicide. The project is looking for submissions of pictures, drawings, paintings, stories, poetry, and essays. Participants are allowed to send in three submissions on the topic.
Written materials should be between 500 to 1000 words, and can either be fiction or non-fiction, however, real life stories are preferred. Participants are requested to send in their submissions with their names and biography but can choose to remain anonymous or use a pen name instead.
Physical submissions such as painting and drawings are to be sent to the Mental Health Foundation in Cay Hill and digital submissions such as writing, digital art, and pictures are to be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for submissions is September 1. Any submissions sent in afterward are disqualified and will not be part of the art exhibition.
Julie Alcin, the writer of Escaping The Vault, Julie Alcin, says “I was around the age of 12 when I first attempted suicide. And though some may argue that a child doesn’t have anything to be depressed about, I highly disagree. I grew up in an abusive household – watching my father abuse my mother both physically and verbally. I cannot count the endless nights of him coming home drunk to yell and curse – always complaining about his life and how much he wanted her dead.
“In the morning, I would go to school deprived of sleep only to be bullied by students who thought I was different. They would call me names and beat me for being weird, for talking and simply just for being there. I was called ugly, stupid and a waste of space – not only by my bullies but by my father as well. I was taught to hate myself. I hated looking in the mirror, because every time I do, I would see his face. I would spend days feeling like a worthless burden and nights crying myself to sleep – wishing I was dead.
“I am not the only one who grew up this way, or who has felt the ways I felt. Suicide and suicidal thoughts happen more often than we think it does. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), every year close to 800,000 people take their life and there are much more people who attempt suicide. It is something that happens very frequently, and it breaks my heart to think that someone had to go through so much pain that the only way they saw out of was to take their own life.
“It’s why I try so hard to raise awareness for mental health. Love & Semicolon is a project that I really want to people to be interested in, because there needs to more awareness about suicide. I would talk to people and some would just laugh and say it’s a white people thing. Pain doesn’t choose a color. Mental illnesses do not choose a race. And suicide happens to both black and white – young and old.”