Tattoo shop punctuating suicide prevention awareness
By: Ronnie Allen Campman
26 September 2019
A tattoo shop in Kāneʻohe is punctuating the stigma surrounding mental illnesses during Suicide
Prevention Awareness Month.
For September, Neck Deep Tattoo is offering a discount on semicolon tattoos.
Authors use semicolons to take breaths in a sentence, rather than end it. According to Project
Semicolon, the penalty is a metaphor for your life, and the semicolon is your choice to continue
living. Semicolon tattoos represent a person’s story.
These tattoos are seen as a message of solidarity against suicide, depression, and other mental
A tattoo this small usually takes two minutes to complete. However, many clients end up staying
for hours to share their stories with Michael Crinella, owner of Neck Deep Tattoo.
“It’s a way to vent, a way to release. I have personally thought that maybe enduring the pain of a
tattoo can get you over some grief, or at least it can help,” Crinella said.
He describes this process as not only cathartic for the person receiving the tattoo, but for him as
On average, one person dies by suicide every two days in Hawaiʻi, making it the ninth leading
cause of death in the islands, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
With this in mind, Crinella hopes to get people talking about their semicolon tattoos just as he
shared his with me.
Amanda Martinez, the Training Program Manager For Mental Health America of Hawaiʻi, also
has a semicolon tattoo.
Martinez travels to different schools to lead workshops on youth suicide and bullying prevention
Mental Health America of Hawaiʻi also offers mental health first aid training, Live-Your-Life-Well
training, and Become a Defender training.
She talks about her organization as being the middleman, connecting people to the services
that can help them.
“I’ve always wanted to be the person that I could’ve used when I was younger. I want to be
someone who’s like talking about this kind of stuff because youth are interested in it,” Martinez
She believes it’s very important to empower kids and teens to have these discussions and know
where to turn to help because they aren’t alone.
If you or anyone you know is suffering from depression or other mental illnesses, contact the
National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255, Crisis Line of Hawaiʻi at 832-3100 or the
Trevor Helpline at 1-866-488-7386.