As Simon Sinek often says – we are all social animals, when a group of people who trust each other and share the same goals get together, amazing things can be achieved. The Semicolon Effect is one such group built on the foundation of trust and respect, their goal – providing a safe space for anyone who goes through mental health struggles.
Imagine having a group of people who get together to discuss how your week was, to discuss all your problems and things that you are anxious about, imagine knowing that you can tell these people absolutely anything, knowing that you would not be judged, but will be treated with respect and understanding – wouldn’t that make your life journey much more bearable or even easier?
How it all started
Most ideas are born through pain. The idea for The Semicolon Effect was born through Shavintha Fernando, who felt like he had to struggle alone during his journey. Determined to create a safe space for others on a mental health journey, he created The Semicolon Effect.
“The mental health journey doesn’t have to be a walk in the park alone when you can lean on a system of support and work collectively to overcome it. The Semicolon is a symbol in the English language used by authors not to end a sentence but to continue the sentence on to another. So in this sense, you are the author and your life is the sentence. Instead of ending it with a full stop, we help you to choose to keep going on. Our logo in itself shows a system of support and consoling of a crying girl. The rainbow tears depict our open LGBTQI+ friendly environment policy as we don’t believe in any sort of labels.”– Shavintha Fernando, Founder – The Semicolon Effect
Initially starting off with three members, The Semicolon Effect has now grown to about 20 members. They conduct various activities including puppy therapy (in partnership with Embark), art and music therapy, yoga and workshops with mental health experts. This year they started off with defining goals the members would like to achieve, methods of achieving them and forming a system to keep track of the progress during the year.
The Semicolon Effect works in a similar way group therapy works, however they act as facilitators –think of them as a group of non-judgmental friends who listen to all your problems and helps you to cope and/or solve them. However, if you are in need of professional help, The Semicolon Effect will point you in the right direction as they have a list of licensed psychologists and other experts who will sort things out for you.
Support during the Pandemic
The Semicolon Effect shifted their activities online to checkup on their members during the lockdown and continued to conduct various online workshops. Their workshops have covered topics such as Team building, motivation, coping with work, coping with suicidal thoughts and surviving abuse.
How can you join?
“As human beings, we are social animals. We have never been the fastest or the strongest. We have survived, adapted and thrived as a species because of our ability to form bonds of trust and cooperation.”Stephen Shedletzky