The Edmonton Mental Health Awareness Committee (EMHAC) was formed in July 2015 with the purpose of doing a fundraising event for mental health that would bring together people living with mental illness to get a semicolon tattoo. Inspired by Project Semicolon, a movement that began in the United States, a semicolon can represent when an author could have chosen to end their sentence; but instead carried on. This message and symbolic tattoo resonated with many who battle mental illness and thoughts of suicide and those that love and support them and a committee was quickly created to produce a quality event in just seven weeks. Inspired by the impact we made on the community, EMHAC chose to continue working together towards the common goal of raising awareness and funds for organizations that were improving the lives of people living with mental illness.
Through an amazing network of volunteers and supporters from the community, EMHAC went on to produce a second, larger #YEGsemicolon event in May 2016. We were excited to discover that our events were helping to increase awareness and reduce stigma surrounding mental illness, and our events were proving to be excellent opportunities to promote social inclusion and a sense of community.
EMHAC made the decision to apply for Society status in July 2016 and our status was recently approved.
Our organization is made up of strictly volunteers and our executive draws upon individuals from a wide spectrum of careers and skills, including individuals with lived experience.