Selena Gomez and the cast of 13 Reasons Why got matching semicolon ( ; ) tattoos in April 2017. She served as one of the executive producers for the Netflix television show, based on the book by Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. It tells the fictional story of a high school student named Hannah Baker who sadly dies by suicide and leaves behind a series of tapes addressed to the people who hurt her explaining where her life went wrong.
The semicolon has become a symbol of suicide prevention through the work of the non-profit organization Project Semicolon. They chose the symbol because it represents a place where a sentence could have stopped but didn’t, making it a fitting metaphor for someone’s life which could have ended in suicide but doesn’t have to. The organization describes itself as a “movement dedicated to presenting hope and love for those who are struggling with mental illness, suicide, addiction and self-injury.” They remind people that things can get better with their slogan “your story is not over.”
Selena’s tattoo is a show of support, letting those who are struggling know that things don’t have to end on a low note. She herself has struggled with anxiety and depression and knows firsthand that things can get better. She is a advocate of therapy, particularly Dialectical Behavior Therapy. “DBT has completely changed my life,” she told Vogue. “I wish more people would talk about therapy.”
In a special Beyond The Reasons episode that plays after the final episode of the show, Selena addresses viewers and encourages them to seek help for their troubles rather than resorting to suicide:
Suicide should never, ever be an option…It’s absolutely treatable. Anxiety is. Depression is. Talk therapy, treatment centers, there’s a million ways that you can find help…There is absolutely nothing wrong with saying that you need help. And if you need help at all you can go to 13reasonswhy.info to find an organization in your area.
The show 13 Reasons Why has come under fire from some critics who allege that it glorifies suicide. The character Hannah Baker could have opened up about her traumas and betrayals and sought counseling instead of taking her own life. However Selena has defended the series for being real and honest about the issues that teenagers today are forced to confront. She fell instantly in love with the “tragically beautiful” story after reading the book and hopes that the show will help people to get the help that they need.
Selena got her tattoo alongside Alisha Boe, who plays Jessica, and Tommy Dorfman, who plays Ryan. They were already planning to get the tattoos on their own, but when Selena heard about their plans she asked to join. Two of the other executive producers, Joy Gorman Wettels and Kristel Laiblin, had gotten semicolon tattoos a week before.