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Second #YEGSemicolon Tattoo Fundraising Event Set for Sunday, May 15 to Support Mental Health

  • April 1, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 1, 2016


Second #YEGSemicolon Tattoo Fundraising Event Set for Sunday, May 15 to Support Mental Health

Edmonton, Alberta – The Edmonton Mental Health Awareness Committee (EMHAC) is excited to present the second annual #YEGsemicolon Tattoo Fundraising Event—a large-scale, collective tattoo fundraising and awareness event in support of Momentum Walk-In Counselling. The event will take place on Sunday, May 15, 2016 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Prince of Wales Armouries Heritage Centre.

Inspired by Project Semicolon in the United States, EMHAC has marked #YEGsemicolon as their signature event, which brings together a collective of local tattoo shops and artists to physically mark the semicolon icon on a participant’s body. The September 2015 event saw nearly 700 people get permanent semicolon tattoos, and EMHAC’s goal is to double that number this year.

“Our first event received such incredible response from the community and it really snowballed to a place where we had to produce a second event to accommodate the hundreds of requests we were getting from people wanting to support,” said Wendy Enberg, Edmonton Mental Health Awareness Committee. “There is a large community of people who struggle with mental illness in the Edmonton region, and this is truly a platform for everyone to unite in order to bring awareness to mental health, remember those we have lost to suicide, and create opportunities to help people through mental health services.”

The 2015 #YEGsemicolon event raised close to $25,000 for Momentum Walk-In Counselling, and the goal is to raise $50,000 for Momentum through the 2016 event.

20 local tattoo artists are currently confirmed to donate their time for the May 15 event, and it’s expected there will be a total of 30 tattoo artists by the time the event takes place. Participants can register to receive one, two or all three of the designated tattoo designs this year – a semicolon, an arrow, or a heartbeat. Organizers say that this gives people who already have a semicolon tattoo an opportunity to join the 2016 event and get a new tattoo, or add to their existing one.

Tattoo artists can complete one tattoo every 10 minutes, which equates to approximately 48 tattoos for each artist during the event.

City of Edmonton Councillor Scott McKeen will return for the 2016 event as a speaker at the opening ceremonies. McKeen was the first person to get a permanent semicolon tattoo at the first #YEGsemicolon event.

Joining McKeen will be several celebrity speakers, entertainers and guests including:

  • Kathleen Smith, local personality who has openly shared her journey of the loss of her son who committed suicide in late 2014
  • Form 10, a local band noted for their support and advocacy of mental health through their music and events

#YEGsemicolon will have live music, guest speakers, food trucks, resource booths and vendors providing services, products, entertainment and food for the expected 2,000 people to attend during the day-long event. Participants can also get semi-permanent, glitter and henna tattoos to show their support without leaving a permanent mark.

Ticket registration is now open for those wanting to book their time to get their permanent tattoo(s). Each permanent tattoo costs $50 and all proceeds will be donated to Momentum’s “Pay It Forward Fund,” subsidizing counselling fees for those who otherwise cannot afford to pay for counselling. (40% of Momentum’s clients make less than $1000/month). People can register for their tattoos online at http://www.yegsemicolon.com

EMHAC says there has been nothing of this magnitude done in the Edmonton area to support mental health awareness and fundraising, and adding a second event will continue to build that awareness and expand support for people in need.

“We benefited tremendously from the first #YEGsemicolon event,” says Kim Knull, Executive Director of Momentum Walk-in Counselling. “We were able to expand our programs and services thanks to everyone who supported the event by getting a tattoo or donating. Mental health support and services are important to thousands of people affected by mental illness in the Edmonton region, and with the recent downturn in the economy, we are helping more people affected by stress, anxiety and suicidal feelings from job loss.”

Momentum offers walk-in counselling to people seeking a way to cope with a variety of situations from stress to relationship problems to mental health, or abuse.

“Our goal is to be accessible to anyone who needs the support and help from a qualified and trained therapist,” says Knull. “We rely on funding from events like the semicolon event or from groups like EMHAC to be able to continue to provide these services to people who need our support now—not three weeks from now.”

Momentum operates on a ‘pay-what-you-can’ system with their clients. Clients may not be in the position to immediately pay for services, and Momentum will not turn them away. These fundraising efforts are critical to enabling Momentum to continue to operate this way.

Edmonton Semicolon Tattoo Event Information

Date:  Sunday, May 15, 2016

Time:  9 a.m. opening ceremonies |10 a.m. – 5 p.m. tattoo bookings and open to the public

Location: Prince of Wales Armouries Heritage Centre |10440-108 Avenue, Edmonton

Cost:  Free general entry.  $50 for each permanent tattoo

Tattoo Tickets:  Available by registering online at http://www.yegsemicolon.com

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ABOUT EDMONTON MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS COMMITTEE (EMHAC)

The Edmonton Mental Health Awareness Committee (EMHAC) was created by a group of people passionate about bringing awareness to mental health issues in our own community. We were inspired by Project Semicolon, a project that began in the United States, and has now gained momentum worldwide. In honour of that spirit, we teamed up with Momentum Walk-In Counselling (formerly WICSOE) to raise funds for an organization that’s there in the moment for people needing help when experiencing the need for counselling services. Learn more online at http://www.edmontonmhac.com

ABOUT MOMENTUM WALK-IN COUNSELLING

Momentum is a mental health triage centre, helping individuals who cannot pay or wait for aid through the traditional health care system. We are a non profit, walk-in agency providing support and guidance to people in need of counselling services. Momentum is staffed by a team of volunteer, Registered Health Professionals who collaborate to provide clients Single Session Therapy solutions. Learn more about Momentum online at http://www.momentumcounselling.org

For images, interview requests or additional information, please contact:

Natalie Harper, Media Relations

EMHAC and/or Momentum Walk-in Counselling

780-909-2281

natalie@harperpr.com